Introducing The Rumpus Original Poetry Anthology

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If you came by the Rumpus table at the AWP convention in Chicago last week you might have seen me or my partner/book designer Amy Letter demonstrating this anthology.

Almost three years ago, we published our first poem at The Rumpus, Elizabeth Bradfield’s “In Praise of Entropy.” It was the first entry in our now yearly National Poetry Month poem-a-day project.

About six months ago, I started collecting these poems together (and getting permission from their authors) in order to make an e-book anthology of the work we’ve showcased on The Rumpus, and here it is: The Rumpus Original Poetry Anthology. It showcases work from 100 poets, both their poems and, when available, embedded audio and video.

Video in particular, I think, will be a large part of the future of poetry in e-books, whether it’s video of the poet performing as in Oscar Bermeo’s “Ode to Government Cheese” or video which tells its own story alongside the poem as in John Gallaher’s “And Then At the Boat Show” or video that itself is the poem, as in Amy Letter’s “Universal Translator.”

This anthology covers the period from April 2009 through early May 2011, and I hope that, as you read the anthology (and listen to the audio and watch the video), you come away with a feel for poetry as you’ll find it at The Rumpus. I solicit directly from poets, and I do that because when I started as poetry editor here, I worried that if I read blindly, I would wind up with a poetry section that sounded and looked like me. I’m a very narrow slice of the poetic pie. So I asked for poems from people with ten books and from people waiting to publish their first, from those whose work felt familiar to me and from those writing in ways I’d never ten before. The result is a collection that reflects, in part, the diversity of voices and styles in contemporary poetry.

It’s available at the iTunes Bookstore for $9.99. It’s only available for iPad at present, but as more ebook formats make themselves as video friendly as we need, we’ll offer it in those formats as well.

This project couldn’t have happened without the 100 poets who allowed us to use their work, without the wonderful cover image provided by Dolores Coe, and without the book design skills of Amy Letter. Enjoy!


Brian Spears's first collection of poetry, A Witness in Exile, is now available through Louisiana Literature Press, and at his personal website. He is the Poetry Editor for The Rumpus, and teaches poetry at Drake University. More from this author →