The Anthologist: A Compendium of Uncommon Collections


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 Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry and There's a Revolution Outside, My Love: Letters From a Crisis.

As U.S. poet laureate, Joy Harjo envisioned a project of “mapping the United States based on the poetry of Native Nations poets.” That vision has been realized both as an interactive map hosted on the Library of Congress website and as Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry (Norton, May 2021). Contributors Jake Skeets, Layli Long Soldier, and others consider themes of place and displacement, visibility and resistance, creating “a new map, together where poetry is sung.” 

“Language, for me, has always been the country’s wonder,” says writer Gina Apostol in her introduction to Ulirát: Best Contemporary Stories in Translation From the Philippines (Gaudy Boy, March 2021), a collection of fiction originally written in seven of the “one hundred and fifty tongues on our seven thousand or so islands.” Edited by Tilde Acuña, John Bengan, Daryll Delgado, Amado Anthony G. Mendoza III, and Kristine Ong Muslim, the book offers a dynamic snapshot of Philippine letters. 

“How will America respond to the decision it weighs?” Tracy K. Smith asks in the preface to There’s a Revolution Outside, My Love: Letters From a Crisis (Vintage, May 2021) edited by Smith and John Freeman. “Will it invest in the project of national healing and racial justice? Or will it instead manufacture a means of protecting the age-old precedent of white supremacy?” Forty authors answer in letters, essays, poems, and meditations about the summer of 2020.