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New Poetry, The

New Lines, The New Poetry

poets anthology verse alvarez

an anthology of verse edited by Al Alvarez, first published by Penguin Books in 1962. Alvarez's controversial introduction argued that since the decline of Modernism ‘the machinery of modern English poetry seems to have been controlled by a series of negative feed-backs’; the latest of these, the reaction against the excesses of Dylan Thomas and his followers, had established traditionalism and gentility as dominant characteristics of post-war poetry. To this extent, the anthology proposed itself as a corrective to the Movement's ‘academic-administrative verse, polite, knowledgeable, efficient, polished’ that had been promoted by New Lines in 1956. The New Poetry espoused a more urgent and vigorous poetic engagement with a broader spectrum of experience. Six of the New Lines poets nevertheless featured in Alvarez's selection, along with fourteen further British poets, including R. S. Thomas, Norman MacCaig, Christopher Middleton, Ted Hughes, and David Holbrook, and two Americans, John Berryman and Robert Lowell. Sylvia Plath, Peter Porter, and Ian Hamilton were among the eight poets added to the revised edition in 1965. Although the introduction's claims were at odds with the sober tone of much of the verse, the anthology marked an important development in introducing the work of numerous significantly innovative poets to a wide public.

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