Anthologies are good for two things: finding new authors to admire and enjoy, or passing high school and college classes with a reasonable grade. Avid readers are probably less likely to read multi-author anthologies, though how will you know which single-author ones to pick up if you've never encountered those authors before?
Good question. We hope to help you resolve it with the selection below. One other thing poetry anthologies are good for: keeping kids quiet for long periods of time. There's nothing quite as wonderful to a child as sitting on the couch on a rainy day perusing the verse of everyone from A.A. Milne to Kenneth Grahame to Christina Rossetti and Rudyard Kipling.
Adults and older students often have fun reading anthologies, too. It's more difficult to get bored with a single author if you're only reading three or four poems by him at a time. Also, if you're single, reading a book of poems at a coffee shop or on a park bench is a great way to start a conversation with an intelligent and attractive member of the opposite gender.
Due to their thickness, anthologies also make good building blocks for living room forts, boosters for young kids at the kitchen table, missiles for catapults in the backyard, and proof of your intelligence as you walk through the library stacks. There are probably other things to use them for, but my memory and creativity fails.
Okay, so there are plenty of good uses for anthologies. We encourage you to keep a few around the house; the book that goes neglected for five or ten years can still spark a love of reading long after it's collected dust, which is yet another thing anthologies are good for.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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