Penguin Modern Poets

"Penguin Modern Poets" was a series of 28 poetry books published by Penguin Books in the 1960s and 1970s, each containing work by three contemporary poets (mostly but not exclusively British and American). The series was begun in 1962 and published an average of two volumes per year throughout the 1960s. Each volume was stated to be "an attempt to introduce contemporary poetry to the general reader". [Moore-Gilbert, B. J. and Seed, John (1992). "Cultural Revolution?: The Challenge of the Arts in the 1960s", p. 64. Routledge. ISBN 0415078245.] The series added up to a substantial survey of English-language poetry of the time.

"Penguin Modern Poets" was the first venture on the part of Penguin Books to offer contemporary poetry. Although at the time, most poetry was published in expensive hardbound editions, "Penguin Modern Poets" offered the public samplers of modern verse in inexpensive paperbacks. No. 27, the last of the original series, appeared in 1979. [Booth, Martin (1985). "British Poetry 1964 to 1984: Driving Through the Barricades", p. 64. Routledge. ISBN 0710096062.]

The outstanding success of the series was No. 10, which, unlike the others, had its own title ("The Mersey Sound") and which, with sales of over 500,000, has become one of the best-selling poetry anthologies ever.

A second "Penguin Modern Poets" series, of at least thirteen volumes on the same pattern, was launched in the 1990s.

Penguin Modern Poets (first series)

#Lawrence Durrell, Elizabeth Jennings, R. S. Thomas — 1962
#Kingsley Amis, Dom Moraes, Peter Porter — 1962
#George Barker, Martin Bell, Charles Causley
#David Holbrook, Christopher Middleton, David Wevill
#Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg
#George MacBeth, Edward Lucie-Smith, Jack Clemo
#Richard Murphy, Jon Silkin, Nathaniel Tarn
#Edwin Brock, Geoffrey Hill, Stevie Smith
#Denise Levertov, Kenneth Rexroth, William Carlos Williams
#Adrian Henri, Roger McGough, Brian Patten (entitled: "The Mersey Sound")
#D. M. Black, Peter Redgrove, D. M. Thomas
#Alan Jackson, Jeff Nuttall, William Wantling
#Charles Bukowski, Philip Lamantia, Harold Norse
#Alan Brownjohn, Michael Hamburger, Charles Tomlinson
#Alan Bold, Edward Brathwaite, Edwin Morgan
#Jack Beeching, Harry Guest, Matthew Mead
#W. S. Graham, Kathleen Raine, David Gascoyne
#A. Alvarez, Roy Fuller, Anthony Thwaite
#John Ashbery, Lee Harwood, Tom Raworth
#John Heath-Stubbs, F. T. Prince, Stephen Spender
#George Mackay Brown, Norman MacCaig, Iain Crichton Smith
#John Fuller, Peter Levi, Adrian Mitchell
#Geoffrey Grigson, Edwin Muir, Adrian Stokes
#Kenward Elmslie, Kenneth Koch, James Schuyler
#Gavin Ewart, Zulfikar Ghose, B. S. Johnson — 1975
#Dannie Abse, D.J. Enright, Michael Longley
#John Ormond, Emyr Humphrys, John Tripp

Penguin Modern Poets (second series)

#James Fenton, Blake Morrison, Kit Wright
#Carol Ann Duffy, Vicki Feaver, Eavan Boland
#Glyn Maxwell, Mick Imlah, Peter Reading — 1995
#Liz Lochhead, Roger McGough, Sharon Olds — 1995
#Simon Armitage, Sean O'Brien, Tony Harrison
#U. A. Fanthorpe, Elma Mitchell, Charles Causley
#Donald Davie, Samuel Menashe, Allen Curnow
#Jackie Kay, Merle Collins, Grace Nichols
#John Burnside, Robert Crawford, Kathleen Jamie
#Douglas Oliver, Denise Riley, Iain Sinclair
#Michael Donaghy, Andrew Motion, Hugo Williams — 1997
#Helen Dunmore, Jo Shapcott, Matthew Sweeney
#Michael Hoffman, Michael Longley, Robin Robertson


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