The Anthologist: A Compendium of Uncommon Collections

From the July/August 2021 issue of
Poets & Writers Magazine

Among the many new books published each season is a shelf full of notable anthologies, each one showcasing the work of writers united by genre, form, or theme. The Anthologist highlights a few recently released collections, including Horse Girls: Recovering, Aspiring, and Devoted Riders Redefine the Iconic Bond and Best Debut Short Stories 2021: The PEN America Dau Prize.

In Horse Girls: Recovering, Aspiring, and Devoted Riders Redefine the Iconic Bond (Harper Perennial, August 2021) edited by Halimah Marcus, more than a dozen essayists consider the ways horses have shaped their sense of self. Writers including Rosebud Ben-Oni, T Kira Madden, Carmen Maria Machado, and Laura Maylene Walter claim space for horse girls of all kinds, beyond stereotype, and ask what kind of freedom is possible in the company of horses.  

Generations of readers who saw themselves in Claudia, Kristy, Mary Anne, and Stacey will see themselves in We Are the Baby-Sitters Club: Essays and Artwork From Grown-Up Readers (Chicago Review Press, July 2021), edited by Marisa Crawford and Megan Milks. Writers including Kristen Arnett and Myriam Gurba share how Ann M. Martin’s classic series informed their feminism, friendships, and most audacious preteen fashion choices.  

Best Debut Short Stories 2021: The PEN America Dau Prize (Catapult, August 2021), edited by Yuka Igarashi and Sarah Lyn Rogers, gives a tantalizing glimpse of the work of tomorrow’s literary luminaries. Comprising twelve stories selected by judges Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, and Beth Piatote, the anthology presents the most exciting debut fiction published in literary magazines in the past year. Comments from the journal editors frame each piece and offer insight into their paths to publication.  

The annual Griffin Poetry Prize, awarded by the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry, is one of the field’s most prestigious, honoring some of the most incendiary and important collections by poets from Canada and across the globe. The 2021 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology: A Selection of the Shortlist (House of Anansi Press, July 2021), edited by Souvankham Thammavongsa, showcases the work of this year’s finalists including Victoria Chang, Srikanth Reddy, and Yusuf Saadi.