This little book contains some 39 American poets, some better known than others. If you're into poetry, and looking for an interesting and brief collection of what was being written in America during the middle-half of the 20th century (and thus, highly influential upon our own) than this Penguin anthology is a great book to own. In his introduction, written in 1961, Donald Hall distinguishes "new" American poetry as being "subjective" rather than "autobiographical". "It reveals through images not particular pain, but general subjective life." The poems of this era (roughly the 1950's & early 1960's) are best described as "expressionistic" - they have their own language and feeling best understood and felt if the reader is open to them. Like a painter "...the poet uses fantasy and distortion to express feeling."
I like this anthology because it contains a number of American poets I was unfamiliar with and wanted to know. Each poet is represented fairly well, mostly with four or more poems. Stafford, Lowell, Wilbur, Bly, Creeley, Ginsberg, Ashbery, Sexton, Wright, Rich, Snyder, and Plath are some of the more well-known names in American poetry you'll find here. But the rest are just as interesting for being less known and "new". Reading these poets all together, one gains a basic idea of what kinds of movements, directions, and experiments were happening in poetry at this time, leading into and influencing ours. A number of lines strike me in a meaningful or thought-provoking way, and I enjoy the way many of these poets make one see and feel in a new and different light. Well worth the time and effort of any knowledgable poet or poetry lover.