Anthologies

Having done several anthologies of literature, I've come to appreciate exemplary examples of the underrated genre, some of them still underknown alas, and to make critical discriminations. First, I would distinguish those collections of choice flowers, to recall the etymology of the word anthology, that create taste from those that sweep up behind promotions created before them. Taste-making anthologies are invariably the initial selection from a certain new subject or a radical reinterpretation of a familiar subject. (These are my ideals for my own.) I also critically separate anthologies that are edited from those which are merely compiled. One sure sign of the latter is a mechanical editorial sequence, say chronological by birthdates of the authors or alphabetical by surnames. Both rote sequences usually indicate that the purported editor(s) has failed to present his or her enthusiasms with critical intelligence.

“Remembering Two Great Underknown Anthologies 75 Years Later” (2004)