The Anthologist: A Compendium of Uncommon Collections

From the March/April 2020 issue of
Poets & Writers Magazine

Among the many new books published every month 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 River Teeth: Twenty Years of Creative Nonfiction and Poems From the Edge of Extinction: An Anthology of Poetry in Endangered Languages

River Teeth: 20 Years of Creative Nonfiction (University of New Mexico Press, February 2020), edited by Joe Mackall and Daniel W. Lehman, honors two decades of the magazine’s obsession with “the deepest implications of writing and reading fiction.” Ann Hood, Chris Offutt, and Jerald Walker, among others, contribute essays to this diverse exploration of the stakes, challenges, and possibilities of representing real life on the page.

“About 3,500 languages—half of the 7,000 languages spoken today…will fall silent by the end of this century,” scholar Mandana Seyfeddinipur writes in her introduction to Poems From the Edge of Extinction: An Anthology of Poetry in Endangered Languages (Chambers, December 2019). Editor Chris McCabe celebrates—and preserves—the textures and sounds of poetry written in fifty such vanishing languages, from Alsatian to Zoque.

Good and Balanced: Stories About Sports From the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction (University of Georgia Press, March 2020) considers the victories and disappointments of the sporting life through fiction from writers such as François Camoin and Peter LaSalle. The latest installment in an ongoing series edited by Ethan Laughman, the anthology plumbs the archives of the University of Georgia Press’s Flannery O’Connor Award and considers its winning stories by theme.