by George J. Dance


Norton Anthology of Poetry, 5th edition. Courtesy

The Norton Anthology of Poetry is a poetry anthology published by W.W. Norton & Company.


The anthology surveys 1,000 years of English-language poetry, from medieval times to the present. It is marketed as a college text, though the publisher notes that "students hold onto The Norton Anthology of Poetry long after the course ends — it is their poetry reference for life."[1]

The anthology originally appeared in 1970, with 4 further editions published in 1975, 1983, 1996, and 2005,[2] and a 6th edition in 2018.[3]

The 5th edition was edited by Margaret Ferguson of the University of California, Davis; Mary Jo Salter of Mount Holyoke College; and Jon Stallworthy of Oxford University.[2] It contained 1,828 poems (up from 1,637 in the previous edition) by 334 poets (up from 317).[1]

The book has been seen as representing a canon.[4] As academic George P. Landow expresses it:

To appear in the Norton or Oxford anthology is to have achieved, not exactly greatness but what is more important, certainly – status and accessibility to a reading public.... Belonging to the canon confers status, social, political, economic, aesthetic, none of which can easily be extricated from the others. Belonging to the canon is a guarantee of quality.[5]

As an example, the inclusion of Bob Dylan (whose "Boots of Spanish Leather" was anthologised before he won the Nobel Prize in Literature), has been cited as evidence of the acceptance of his credentials as a poet.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Norton Anthology of Poetry, W.W. Norton & Co. Web, May 18, 2018.
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Norton Anthology of Poetry (edited by Margaret Ferguson, Mary Jo Salter, & Jon Stallworthy). New York: Norton, 2005. The Eye!, Web, May 18, 2018.
  3. The Norton Anthology of Poetry (Sixth Edition), Web, May 18, 2018.
  4. The Norton Anthology of Poetry, Wikipedia, Oct. 12, 2017, Wikimedia Foundation. Web, May 18, 2018.
  5. George P. Landow, "The Literary Canon, The Victorian Web. Web, May 18, 2018.
  6. John Lunberg, "The Best and Worst of Celebrity Poetry," The Blog, November 17, 2011. Huffington Post. Web, May 18, 2018.

External linksEdit

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