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A collection of essays and poems by 35 distinguished poets, illuminating the processes of conceiving, drafting, and revising their work

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The venture of this inviting collection is to look, from the many vantages that the 35 poets in this eclectic anthology chose to look, at what it was—knowing that a poem can’t be conceived in advance of its creation—that helped their poems to emerge or connected them over time. The Rag-Picker's Guide to Poetry permits an inside view of how poets outwit internal censors and habits of thought, showing how the meticulous and the spontaneous come together in the process of discovery. Within are contained the work and thoughts of:

  • Betty Adcock
  • Joan Aleshire
  • Debra Allbery
  • Elizabeth Arnold
  • David Baker
  • Rick Barot
  • Marianne Boruch
  • Karen Brennan
  • Gabrielle Calvocoressi
  • Michael Collier
  • Carl Dennis
  • Stuart Dischell
  • Roger Fanning
  • Chris Forhan
  • Reginald Gibbons
  • Linda Gregerson
  • Jennifer Grotz
  • Brooks Haxton
  • Tony Hoagland
  • Mark Jarman
  • A. Van Jordan
  • Laura Kasischke
  • Mary Leader
  • Dana Levin
  • James Longenbach
  • Thomas Lux
  • Maurice Manning
  • Heather McHugh
  • Martha Rhodes
  • Alan Shapiro
  • Daniel Tobin
  • Ellen Bryant Voigt
  • Alan Williamson
  • Eleanor Wilner
  • C. Dale Young

Eleanor Wilner is the author of seven books of poems, most recently Tourist in Hell and The Girl with Bees in Her Hair; she has also published a verse translation of Euripides’s Medea and a book on visionary imagination. Her awards include a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the Juniper Prize, Pushcart Prizes, and a National Endowment for the Arts grant. A 40-year veteran of teaching, she has taught for over 20 years for the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

Maurice Manning is the author of The Gone and the Going Away and The Common Man , which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2010, as well as Bucolics , A Companion for Owls, and Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions. He has been a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and has held a Guggenheim Fellowship. Currently, Manning teaches at Transylvania University.

"An anthology can be many books in one. I must admit that I have sometimes found anthologies breathlessly unsatisfying. But I was absorbed until the very end of the two hundred and twelve pages of the engagingly named Rag-Picker's Guide to Poetry. All of the thirty-five featured poets have held residencies at Warren Wilson College 'in the mountains of North Carolina'. As a British reader with an interest in North American poetry, I found some familiar and many fresh names...  The Rag-Picker's Guide to Poetry is a capacious anthology, starred with insights into writing - and some very practical help. It made me want to read. It also made me want to write, and to think harder about the kind of books I want to make."--- Alison Brackenbury, PN Review

- Alison Brackenbury