Don Share and Christian Wiman, The Open Door: 100 Poems, 100 Years of Poetry Magazine (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012), 213pp.
The publication of this anthology celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of Poetry magazine in 1912 by Harriet Monroe. Wiman, author of the memoir "My Bright Abyss," retired in June of 2013 after ten years as editor of the nation's oldest poetry journal. After 90 years of "persistence and poverty," in 2002 the journal received a 0 million gift from the reclusive philanthropist Ruth Lilly (sole heiress to the Eli Lilly and Company pharmaceutical fortune built by her great grandfather). In the last century, Poetry has published some 40,000 poems. Today its circulation is higher than ever, and each year it receives 100,000 submissions. Who says poetry is dead?
In a short introduction Wiman explores the "mastery and mystery" of poetry. He acknowledges that for many readers poetry remains "remote and inaccessible." Some of it makes "extreme demands" on the reader. Further, a reader's tastes in poetry are necessarily subjective and personal. Nonetheless, Wiman argues for the "primal power" of poetry. The 100 poems by 100 poets are arranged in random order; they're not chronological or alphabetical. Sprinkled throughout the text are various "comments" and "letters" about poetry from the magazine's hundred-year history. The book concludes with brief biographies of the poets.