posted July 30, 2009

Poetry Anthology Tops Best Seller List

A poetry anthology edited by Hope College English faculty members Peter Schakel and Jack Ridl is at the top of its category in the best seller lists reported by the Poetry Foundation.

The volume, "250 Poems: A Portable Anthology" was number one in the "Anthology" category for the week of July 12, the current data set presented on the foundation's Web site at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/journal/books.html.

It's a position that the anthology has held before.  Of the listing the site notes, "'250 Poems: A Portable Anthology,' edited by Peter Schakel and Jack Ridl, returns to the anthology list at number 1 this week after a short time away.  The book is part of St. Martin's series of compendiums for 'cost-conscious students' and includes classic and contemporary authors."

"250 Poems: A Portable Anthology" was published in 2002 by Bedford/St. Martin's Press and released in a revised, second edition earlier this year.  The book is a collection of poems, arranged chronologically, from medieval English ballads to works by recent American poets laureate such as Rita Dove, Robert Pinsky, and Billy Collins. It features classics like John Donne's "The Flea," Emily Dickinson's "I heard a Fly buzz when I died" and William Butler Yeats's "The Second Coming," as well as poems by contemporary ethnic poets such as Sonia Sanchez, Li-Young Lee, Louise Erdrich, Alberto Rios and Naomi Shihab Nye. It includes a detailed biographical note on each poet represented and a full glossary of poetic terms.

The book is designed both for general readers looking for a compact volume of excellent poetry and for use in classes on poetry.

Schakel is the Peter C. and Emajean Cook Professor of English at Hope, where he has taught since 1969.  Ridl joined the Hope faculty in 1971 and retired in 2006 as a professor emeritus of English.

Each the author of multiple works individually, Schakel and Ridl have collaborated on three volumes in addition to "250 Poems: A Portable Anthology."   They co-authored the textbooks "Approaching Literature: Writing + Reading + Thinking" (second edition, 2008) and "Approaching Poetry: Perspectives and Responses" (1997), and are co-editors, with Janet E. Gardner from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and Beverly Lawn from Adelphi University, of "Literature: A Portable Anthology" (second edition, 2009).

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of "Poetry" magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in contemporary culture.  It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience.

The foundation's poetry best seller lists are based on data received from Nielsen BookScan, which tracks sales from more than 4,500 retail booksellers, and the foundation generates the lists weekly by tallying the number of books sold for recently published volumes of contemporary poetry, poetry anthologies and children's poetry.  The foundation also generates a monthly small-press list based on Small Press Distribution's sales to bookstores and individual customers.