The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker
A Novel

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Synopsis

Paul Chowder is trying to write the introduction to a new anthology of rhyming verse, but he’s having a hard time getting started. The result of his fitful struggles is The Anthologist, Nicholson Baker’s brilliantly funny and exquisite love story about poetry.

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A New York Times Notable Book, 2009

Favorite Fiction of 2009–Los Angeles Times

Best Books of 2009–The Christian Science Monitor

Best of 2009–Slate.com

"A Year’s Reading" Favorites, 2009–The New Yorker

 Best Books of 2009–Seattle Times



 
 

About Nicholson Baker

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Nicholson Baker is the author of nine novels and five works of nonfiction, including The Anthologist, Human Smoke, and Double Fold (winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award). He lives in Maine with his family.
 
Published September 4, 2009 by Simon & Schuster. 260 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Anthologist

Kirkus Reviews

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He reveals that he previously worked for a mutual fund and fled teaching in the middle of a semester, before turning to writing poetry—or not writing poetry, or not writing about poetry—full time.

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The New York Times

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Paul Chowder knows a story about a dog that ate a sock.

Sep 09 2009 | Read Full Review of The Anthologist: A Novel

The New York Times

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Baker is a beautiful writer, and a bracing reader of poetry, but his depiction of the American poetry ecosystem itself is often a little odd, and perhaps has more to do with the experience of Nicholson Baker than of Paul Chowder.

Sep 04 2009 | Read Full Review of The Anthologist: A Novel

The Guardian

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The irony here is that Chowder, with his tipsy ramblings, infects us with so much more passion for poetry than any dry old anthology introduction ever could.

Aug 01 2010 | Read Full Review of The Anthologist: A Novel

BC Books

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Well, not everything I know, because a lot of what I know, you know.

Aug 19 2009 | Read Full Review of The Anthologist: A Novel

BC Books

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Continued on the next page Page 1 — Page 2 — Page 3

Jun 22 2010 | Read Full Review of The Anthologist: A Novel

The Globe and Mail

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But as for the argument that rhyme forces poets into contrivance, well, Baker goes back to Renaissance poet Samuel Daniel: If a poet has the chops for it, Daniel argued, rhyme "carries him, not out of his course, but as it were beyond his power to a farre happier flight."

Oct 09 2009 | Read Full Review of The Anthologist: A Novel

The Washington Post

Poet Paul Chowder, the narrator of Nicholson Baker's "The Anthologist," has a vision of himself on a ladder: Above him are such recent poets laureate as Billy Collins and Ted Kooser, and below is a gaggle of energetic young writers.

Sep 01 2009 | Read Full Review of The Anthologist: A Novel

The Telegraph

You might have read some pretty nasty book reviews in the past, but no books get nastier reviews than poetry anthologies.

Sep 28 2009 | Read Full Review of The Anthologist: A Novel

Christian Science Monitor

It’s not every writer who can change the way you think, but Nicholson Baker has made a career of making us sit up and take notice of things we often overlook.

Sep 28 2009 | Read Full Review of The Anthologist: A Novel

Review (Barnes & Noble)

But his fixations keep changing, as per his smorgasbord metaphor above.) And what Paul really hates is blank verse: unrhymed iambic pentameter, the sort of thing Shakespeare found perfectly serviceable for 18,000 lines of dramatic poetry.

Sep 17 2009 | Read Full Review of The Anthologist: A Novel

About.com

After all, there is (as Chowder points out) no fictional and nonfictional poetry: "For instance, I could write a poem right now about buying a big wheel of Parmesan cheese and putting it in my closet as an investment.

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Seattle PI

Not only must what Chowder says be judged by who Chowder is, who Chowder is must be judged by what Chowder says.

Apr 26 2011 | Read Full Review of The Anthologist: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

Pritchard NY Times Book Review 4 of 5 Stars "Somehow Nicholson Baker has written a novel about poetry that’s actually about poetry—and that is also startlingly perceptive and ardent, both as a work of fiction and as a representation of the kind of thinking that poetry readers do.

Aug 23 2009 | Read Full Review of The Anthologist: A Novel

Fred Beauford

At times it is painful to watch Paul spiral deeper into self-loathing, and the sections on rhyme and meter read more like a high school text book than a celebration of rhyme.

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Reader Rating for The Anthologist
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