The selections in this anthology represent the full range and vitality of contemporary American poetry--from minimalism to epic, from free verse to traditional form, from plain conversation to richly embroidered tapestry, form passionate political utterance to intense personal drama, from light verse to tough lyricism. Since 1950 university presses have published more than 900 volumes of original poetry , opening the canon to a wide range of rich and exciting voices. Nearly 200 of the those volumes are represented here.
Vital Signs features poems by such well established poets as John Ashbery, Marge Piercy, Adrienne Rich, and James Wright. Because the presses have also played a role in discovering and promoting the work of new poets, the reader will find here poems by many younger writers as well.