You are on page 1of 3


Purpose of the Book poem, when available. A unique feature of Pf S is

a specially commissioned overview essay on each
The purpose of Poetry for Students (Pf S) is to
poem by an academic expert, targeted toward the
provide readers with a guide to understanding, en-
student reader.
joying, and studying poems by giving them easy
access to information about the work. Part of Gales To further aid the student in studying and en-
For Students Literature line, Pf S is specifically joying each poem, information on media adapta-
designed to meet the curricular needs of high school tions is provided when available, as well as reading
and undergraduate college students and their teach- suggestions for works of fiction and nonfiction on
ers, as well as the interests of general readers and similar themes and topics. Classroom aids include
researchers considering specific poems. While each ideas for research papers and lists of critical sources
volume contains entries on classic poems fre- that provide additional material on the poem.
quently studied in classrooms, there are also entries
containing hard-to-find information on contempo- Selection Criteria
rary poems, including works by multicultural, in-
The titles for each volume of Pf S were selected
ternational, and women poets.
by surveying numerous sources on teaching litera-
The information covered in each entry includes ture and analyzing course curricula for various
an introduction to the poem and the poems author; school districts. Some of the sources surveyed in-
the actual poem text; a poem summary, to help cluded: literature anthologies; Reading Lists for
readers unravel and understand the meaning of the College-Bound Students: The Books Most Recom-
poem; analysis of important themes in the poem; mended by Americas Top Colleges; textbooks on
and an explanation of important literary techniques teaching the poem; a College Board survey of
and movements as they are demonstrated in the poems commonly studied in high schools; and a
poem. National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
survey of poems commonly studied in high schools.
In addition to this material, which helps the
readers analyze the poem itself, students are also Input was also solicited from our expert advi-
provided with important information on the liter- sory board, as well as educators from various ar-
ary and historical background informing each eas. From these discussions, it was determined that
work. This includes a historical context essay, a each volume should have a mix of classic poems
box comparing the time or place the poem was writ- (those works commonly taught in literature classes)
ten to modern Western culture, a critical overview and contemporary poems for which information is
essay, and excerpts from critical essays on the often hard to find. Because of the interest in ex-

x i i P o e t r y f o r S t u d e n t s
I n t r o d u c t i o n

panding the canon of literature, an emphasis was related historical events, pertinent aspects of
also placed on including works by international, daily life in the culture, and the artistic and lit-
multicultural, and women authors. Our advisory erary sensibilities of the time in which the work
board memberscurrent high school and college was written. If the poem is a historical work, in-
teachershelped pare down the list for each vol- formation regarding the time in which the poem
ume. If a work was not selected for the present vol- is set is also included. Each section is broken
ume, it was often noted as a possibility for a future down with helpful subheads. (Works written af-
volume. As always, the editor welcomes sugges- ter the late 1970s may not have this section.)
tions for titles to be included in future volumes.
Critical Overview: this section provides back-
ground on the critical reputation of the poem,
How Each Entry Is Organized including bannings or any other public contro-
Each entry, or chapter, in Pf S focuses on one versies surrounding the work. For older works,
poem. Each entry heading lists the full name of the this section includes a history of how poem was
poem, the authors name, and the date of the first received and how perceptions of it may
poems publication. The following elements are have changed over the years; for more recent
contained in each entry: poems, direct quotes from early reviews may
Introduction: a brief overview of the poem also be included.
which provides information about its first ap- Sources: an alphabetical list of critical material
pearance, its literary standing, any controversies quoted in the entry, with full bibliographical in-
surrounding the work, and major conflicts or formation.
themes within the work.
For Further Study: an alphabetical list of other
Author Biography: this section includes basic critical sources which may prove useful for the
facts about the poets life, and focuses on events student. Includes full bibliographical informa-
and times in the authors life that inspired the tion and a brief annotation.
poem in question.
Criticism: at least one essay commissioned by
Poem Text: when permission has been granted,
Pf S which specifically deals with the poem and
the poem is reprinted, allowing for quick refer-
is written specifically for the student audience,
ence when reading the explication of the fol-
as well as excerpts from previously published
lowing section.
criticism on the work, when available.
Poem Summary: a description of the major
events in the poem, with interpretation of how In addition, most entries contains the follow-
these events help articulate the poems themes. ing highlighted sections, set separately from the
Summaries are broken down with subheads that main text:
indicate the lines being discussed. Media Adaptations: a list of audio recordings
Themes: a thorough overview of how the ma- as well as any film or television adaptations of
jor topics, themes, and issues are addressed the poem, including source information.
within the poem. Each theme discussed appears Compare and Contrast Box: an at-a-glance
in a separate subhead and is easily accessed comparison of the cultural and historical differ-
through the boldface entries in the Subject/ ences between the authors time and culture and
Theme Index. late twentieth-century Western culture. This box
Style: this section addresses important style el- includes pertinent parallels between the major
ements of the poem, such as form, meter, and scientific, political, and cultural movements of
rhyme scheme; important literary devices used, the time or place the poem was written, the time
such as imagery, foreshadowing, and symbol- or place the poem was set (if a historical work),
ism; and, if applicable, genres to which the work and modern Western culture. Works written af-
might have belonged, such as Gothicism or Ro- ter the mid-1970s may not have this box.
manticism. Literary terms are explained within What Do I Read Next?: a list of works that
the entry, but can also be found in the Glossary. might complement the featured poem or serve
Historical and Cultural Context: This section as a contrast to it. This includes works by the
outlines the social, political, and cultural climate same author and others, works of fiction and
in which the author lived and the poem was cre- nonfiction, and works from various genres, cul-
ated. This section may include descriptions of tures, and eras.

V o l u m e 8 x i i i
I n t r o d u c t i o n

Study Questions: a list of potential study ques- Historical Context sections, etc.), the following for-
tions or research topics dealing with the poem. mat should be used in the bibliography section:
This section includes questions related to other Angle of Geese. Poetry for Students. Eds. Marie
disciplines the student may be studying, such as Napierkowski and Mary Ruby. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale,
American history, world history, science, math, 1997. 89.
government, business, geography, economics, When quoting the specially commissioned es-
psychology, etc. say from Pf S (usually the first piece under the
Criticism subhead), the following format should
Other Features be used:
Pf S includes a foreword by David J. Kelly, an Velie, Alan. Essay on Angle of Geese.Poetry for
instructor and cofounder of the creative writing pe- Students. Eds. Marie Napierkowski and Mary Ruby.
Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 1997. 89.
riodical of Oakton Community College. This essay
provides a straightforward, unpretentious explana- When quoting a journal or newspaper essay
tion of why poetry should be marveled at and how that is reprinted in a volume of Pf S, the following
Poetry for Students can help teachers show students form may be used:
how to enrich their own reading experiences. Luscher, Robert M. An Emersonian Context of
Dickinsons The Soul Selects Her Own Society.
A Cumulative Author/Title Index lists the au-
ESQ: A Journal of American Renaissance 30, No. 2
thors and titles covered in each volume of the Pf S (Second Quarterl, 1984), 11116; excerpted and
series. reprinted in Poetry for Students, Vol. 2, eds. Marie
Napierkowski and Mary Ruby (Detroit: Gale, 1997),
A Cumulative Nationality/Ethnicity Index
pp. 12034.
breaks down the authors and titles covered in each
volume of the Pf S series by nationality and eth- When quoting material reprinted from a book
nicity. that appears in a volume of Pf S, the following form
may be used:
A Subject/Theme Index, specific to each vol-
Mootry, Maria K. Tell It Slant: Disguise and Dis-
ume, provides easy reference for users who may be
covery as Revisionist Poetic Discourse in The Bean
studying a particular subject or theme rather than Eaters, in A Life Distilled: Gwendolyn Brroks, Her
a single work. Significant subjects from events to Poetry and Fiction, edited by Maria K. Mootry and
broad themes are included, and the entries point- Gary Smith (University of Illinois Press, 1987,
ing to the specific theme discussions in each entry 17780; excerpted and reprinted in Poetry for Stu-
are indicated in boldface. dents, Vol. 1, Eds. Marie Napierkowski and Mary
Ruby (Detroit: Gale, 1997), pp. 5961.
Illustrations are included with entries when
available, including photos of the author and other We Welcome Your Suggestions
graphics related to the poem.
The editors of Poetry for Students welcome
your comments and ideas. Readers who wish to
Citing Poetry for Students suggest poems to appear in future volumes, or who
When writing papers, students who quote di- have other suggestions, are cordially invited to con-
rectly from any volume of Poetry for Students may tact the editor. You may write to the editor at:
use the following general forms. These examples
are based on MLA style; teachers may request that
students adhere to a different style, so the follow- Editor, Poetry for Students
ing examples may be adapted as needed. Gale Group
When citing text from Pf S that is not attrib- 27500 Drake Rd.
uted to a particular author (i.e., the Themes, Style, Farmington Hills, MI 483313535

x i v P o e t r y f o r S t u d e n t s