The Isabel Anderson Collection of Poetry

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This collection was established through the generosity of Mrs. Larz Anderson, with the original purpose to create a separate library of twentieth-century English and American poetry. The Collection contains more than one thousand volumes of modern verse from the first half of the century.

Virtually every important poet's work is represented, as is the work of many minor writers. Examples of interesting English works are Richard Aldington's Images, published by the Poetry Bookshop in London in 1915; Edmund Blunden's third book, Pastorals, preceded only by two schoolboy publications; James Elroy Flecker's first book, The Bridge of Fire; the early verse of D.H. Lawrence and Aldous Huxley; and books by John Masefield, Laura Riding, Siegfried Sassoon, May Sinclair, Stephen Spender and Vita Sackville-West. Some of the American poets whose earliest or most rare publications are present include H.D., Stephen Vincent Benet, E.E. Cummings, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Robinson Jeffers, Joyce Kilmer, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Carl Sandburg and Sara Teasdale.

In addition to works by individual writers, the Collection preserves many of the "Little Magazines" which were the vehicles of the revolution in poetics of the early years of this century. Among these are a complete set, in original wrappers, of John Middleton Murry's Rhythm (London, 1911-1913), which published the early work of Murry, Katherine Mansfield, D. H. Lawrence and Rupert Brooke, and brought the visual work of Picasso, Cezanne and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska before the English public; and Contact, the literary review edited by William Carlos Williams, which published the work of E.E. Cummings, Charles Reznikoff, Nathaniel West and Robert McAlmon.

Influential anthologies and literary series include Des Imagistes (1914) and its successor Some Imagist Poets (1915-1917), which published H.D., John Gould Fletcher, James Joyce, Ezra Pound and D. H. Lawrence; the various "Cycles" of the Wheels anthologies edited by Edith Sitwell and containing the early work of the Sitwells, Aldous Huxley and Wilfred Owen; and a nearly complete set of the "Hogarth Essays" pamphlet series which contains essays on poetry and poetics by Robert Graves, Herbert Read and T. S. Eliot.

Many of these writers were published in pamphlet form by small presses or in short-lived publications. Consequently, the Anderson Collection is a rich source for students of this phase of publishing history. Many chapbooks from Harold Munro's Poetry Bookshop, some of the scarcest books of the Hogarth Press, the various poetry series issued by Basil Blackwell, and books from the Nonesuch, Curwen and Beaumont presses are among the "modern" items of interest. Earlier presses and publishers include William Morris' Kelmscott Press, typical "nineties" books from Elkin Mathews and John Lane at the Bodley Head in London, and Copeland and Day in Boston.

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