Poetry News

Announcing the First New Edition in 20 Years of the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry & Poetics

By Harriet Staff

Oh wow oh wow. Just announced by the University of Virginia's English Department is the very recent publication of the fourth edition of the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry & Poetics, with Roland Greene as Editor in Chief; Stephen Cushman as General Editor; and Clare Cavanagh, Jahan Ramazani and Paul Rouzer as Associate Editors. It's the newest edition of the landmark Encyclopedia in almost 20 years, and "has been thoroughly revised and updated for the twenty-first century," including over 250 new entries. More:

At well over a million words and more than 1,000 entries, the Encyclopedia has unparalleled breadth and depth. Entries range in length from brief paragraphs to major essays of 15,000 words, offering a more thorough treatment--including expert synthesis and indispensable bibliographies--than conventional handbooks or dictionaries.

Cornell University wrote a piece on the new compendium for their Chronicle Online, providing some backstory for the new editors, one of whom is a Cornell alum:

It is the authoritative reference "about the entire field of poetry and poetics [including] the poetry of the world's major languages. This new edition is the most complete and comprehensive by a fair margin," said contributor Debra Fried, an associate professor of English.

General Editor Stephen Cushman '78 earned his Cornell B.A. in English. "It was in the Cornell bookstore that I first saw and bought the second (1974) edition of the PEPP, so in a real way that story of my participation in this new edition begins there," he said.

Cushman, a professor of English at the University of Virginia, has published four poetry collections and several critical and historical volumes.

At Cornell, he studied with the late poet and professor A.R. Ammons. His teachers also included English professor Jonathan Culler, comparative literature professor William J. Kennedy and medievalist Winthrop (Pete) Wetherbee, now an emeritus professor -- all of whom wrote entries for this edition.

"I entered Cornell in the fall of 1974, the year Archie Ammons published 'Sphere: The Form of a Motion,' and I met him the next year, when he visited a class taught by Jerald Bullis to read from 'Sphere' and to answer questions. That visit was a turning point," Cushman said. "The following fall, 1976, I signed up for his verse-writing course and afterward stayed in touch with him until his death. He used to say that 'anybody who could find something to do other than write poems should do it.' I thought of that line many times while editing the encyclopedia."

Other contributors include: Peter Baker; Gordon Braden; Jennifer Chang; James Cocola; Greg Colomb; Johanna Drucker; Alastair Fowler; Elizabeth Fowler; Nick Frankel; Amanda French; Michael Gerli; Brian Glavey; Kevin Hart; Greg Hays; Gustav Heldt; Omaar Hena; Tyler Hoffman; Bruce Holsinger; Walt Hunter; Walter Jost; Clare Kinney; Matt Kirschenbaum; Peter Kline; David Kovacs; Chris Krentz; Michael Manson; Kevin McFadden; Jerry McGann; John Miller; Ash Nichols; Jim Nohrnberg; Eric Rettberg; Hallie Smith; Richmond David Rubin; Lisa Russ Spaar; Rob Stilling; Chip Tucker; Dan Veraldil; and Bill Wenthe.

Originally Published: August 29th, 2012