Hello everyone! Happy Almost Thanksgiving! As the long weekend rolls around, I’d like to offer some suggestions on how to structure your time. While the turkey is the in oven and you are slowly becoming more impatient as you become more ravenous (and you keep meekly calling “I’m HUNgry!” into the kitchen and your relatives yell back “You could come in and chop some string beans!” and you fold yourself back onto the couch to watch the Godfather with the rest of the non-helping folk), instead of reaching for the remote and saying the lines as Marlon Brando speaks them, cozy up with an anthology.

I find there are two types of people in this world: Those Who Like Anthologies and Those Who Do Not Care For Them.

Perhaps that’s a wild generalization. But there is a mixed camp. And that might be because when you think of anthologies, you think of huge tomes that are impossible to carry around even though you must haul them over to Brit Lit I and II.

I will admit that I secretly like getting those tomes for big survey classes, just because it gives me the excuse to buy such a ridiculous thing (ridiculously FANTASTIC!) and put it on a shelf to remind myself I am a Scholar. A Scholar! But it’s still pretty impractical to enjoy reading something that huge. (With the exception of HP. HP. You know, right? OK. I had to reference it once. July can’t come fast enough.)

And yet: that’s not the only kind of anthology out there!

Here are a few to get you started:

Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry and 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day . Billy Collins, former Poet Laureate and all around poetry-everyman, put out these to great basic anthologies. If you are just getting started reading poetry, this is the place for you. I read these in high school and it got me excited about poetry more than I had been. Looking back in them now, it’s amazing the range of poets he covers. Although these poems probably won’t change your view of the world, they are all fun and some quite beautiful. AND the best thing about these books is that if you find a poet you enjoy, go off and search for the rest of his or her work–and then get blown away by the full force of their writing.

Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times. Questionable title aside, this anthology contains a lot of lesser-known and foreign poets. It’s divided into sections such as Life, Nature, Death, etc but DO NOT LET THAT DETER YOU! There are some awesome, odd poems in here.

The Best American Poetry Series. A slim volume that comes out every year, this anthology is always a breath of fresh air. And what’s so special about it is that along with the editor, David Lehman, each collection features a guest editor who is well-respected (kick ass) poet. I, for one, love seeing what poems my favorite poet chooses to be in the collection. There is also a Best American Short Story Series, as well as others.

Now let me pause this unfinished list. I’ll keep adding to it, and don’t hesitate to recommend your own suggestions for cool anthologies worth checking out!

Go forth and relax!

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