Cary Nelson, Editor
This website grew out of the experience of editing the Anthology of Modern American Poetry for Oxford University Press. Both I and the members of my Advisory Board realized that readers would benefit from having information readily available that could not possibly fit in a book. This ranged from historical background to analyses of the poems themselves. The site is designed to help all readers of modern poetry, not just readers of the Oxford anthology. Thus anyone interested in Robert Frost or H. D. or E. E. Cummings or Patricia Smith or any of the other poets should find interesting material here.
Just as the anthology itself is designed to win new readers for the poets included, so too is the website designed to help draw attention to the many fine critical and historical books written about American poetry. If you enjoy the excerpts reprinted here, we urge you to read the books in their entirety. If your local library does not own them, we urge you to recommend their purchase.
The nature of each site depends on what makes sense for a particular author or group of authors. The Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, Robert Frost, and William Carlos Williams sites are so far largely devoted to readings of their poems, whereas the Kay Boyle, Angel Island, and Japanese American Concentration Camp sites are largely devoted to historical background. The Harry Crosby site draws heavily on his wonderful archive at Southern Illinois University. We welcome archival contributions for other authors. Most sites devoted to individual poets should, however, eventually have a biographical entry and bibliography. In the course of its first year MAPS evolved into an online journal. By the middle of 2001 MAPS had published over fifty original essays, including
- Joseph Aimone, "Angelina Weld Grimke's 'A Mona Lisa': A Kleinian Reading"
- Melissa Bradshaw, "Reading Amy Lowell's Body(s)"
- Ed Brunner, "Illustrated Editions of THE BRIDGE"
- Joshua Charlson, "On Anthony Hecht's 'More Light! More Light!'"
- Tim Dean, "Strange Paradise: An Essay on Mark Doty"
- Roger Gilbert, "On Robert Pinsky's 'Shirt'"
- Donald Gutierrez, "An Essay on Rexroth's Poetry"
- Linda Hamalian, "Re-Discovering Community: Rexroth and the Whitman Tradition"
- Meta DuEwa Jones, "On Michael Harper's 'Brother John'"
- Matthew Lessig, "On Sterling Brown's 'Sharecroppers'"
- Elizabeth Majerus, "On Mina Loy's 'Songs to Joannes'"
- Karen Polster, "Major Themes and Influences of the Poems at Angel Island"
- Alan Wald, "Sol Funaroff: Apollinaire of the Proletariat"
In some cases MAPS is the only source for scholarly commentary on a given poet's work. Even for well-known poets MAPS often offers the only detailed analyses of particular poems. Less than two years after going on line, MAPS included previously unpublished analyses of Sherman Alexie's "Scalp Dance for Spokane Indians," Kay Boyle's "A Comunication to Nancy Cunard," John Beecher's "Beaufort Tides," Countee Cullen's "Tableau," Louise Erdrich's "Dear John Wayne," Martin Espada's "Federico's Ghost," "Imagine the Angels of Bread," amd "The Skull Beneath the Skin of the Mango," Kenneth Fearing's "Dirge," Langston Hughes's "The Bitter River" and "Madam and the Phone Bill," Adrian Louis's "A Colossal American Copulation," Claude McKay's "The Harlem Dancer," Scott Momaday's "Purple," "Buteo Regalis," "Rings of Bone," "Carriers of the Dream Wheel," and "December 29, 1890," Edna St. Vincent Millay's "I Forgot for a Moment" and "Sonnets from an Ungrafte Tree," Wendy Rose's "Truganinny," Carl Sandburg's "Elizabeth Umpstead" and "Planked Whitefish," Gertrude Stein's "Patriarchal Poetry," Genevieve Taggard's "Everyday Alchemy" and "Mill Town," Lucia Trent's "Breed, Women, Breed," Jean Toomer's "Portrait in Georgia," and Richard Wright's "We of the Streets," among others. We invite further submissions through the online submission forms. MAPS is both an archive and a refereed journal.
MAPS also includes excerpts from previously published analyses of poems, biographical information, relevant illustrations (such as book jackets, broadsides, paintings, drawings, comics, and photographs), manuscripts, drafts of poems, bibliographies, historical background, statements on poetics, interviews, mini-essays on important issues pertinent to the poet, book reviews, archival resources, and study questions. Contributors are encouraged to be imaginative and inventive.
MAPS ADVISORY BOARD
Nancy Berke (City College of New York)
Meta DuEwa Jones (George Washington University)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What materials can I submit to MAPS?
We currently accept both critical and pedagogical materials, as well as materials that may transcend these traditional boundaries.
How can I submit to MAPS? Do I need to know anything about web design to contribute to MAPS?
Just attach your contribution to the Critical or Teaching Materials submission form (we prefer word processing files, though we will also accept high-quality PDFs) and we will do the rest. You do not need to be a web master. Please feel free, however, to make comments regarding layout or stylistic elements and we will do our best to incorporate these into the online display.
Can I publish my new, original essay on MAPS?
Absolutely. We are particularly excited to receive original materials. MAPS functions as both a critical/pedagogical archive and an online journal, stressing the connection between previous and current scholarship. As a flexible digital medium, MAPS is especially well-suited to presenting especially short or long essays, essays that organized non-linearily, and essays that are heavily illustrated. We will include a copyright notice along with the author's name and all submissions are refereed. MAPS has a diverse audience of students, faculty, and general readersan audience otherwise difficult to reach.
What if I do have experience in web design or digital humanities and would like to submit a more interactive contribution? What if an essay is already digitally encoded?
MAPS has a distinct advantage over print journals in that it is able to incorporate interactive and formally experimental materials, such as essays and syllabi, that link to materials already available on the website or hosted elsewhere. We are very excited to receive such materials that stretch the boundaries of both digital humanities and modern American poetry scholarship. If you are interested in submitting such materials, please send us a note on our Questions and Comments submission form and we will discuss with you the logistics of incorporating the materials into the site.
How can I send illustrations?
The easiest way to send illustrations is to use the Critical Submissions form. You can attach the image directly or send us a url to a website where the image is permanently available. We will need permission to host copyrighted materials on the MAPS site.
What about audio or video?
We do not currently have a way to directly upload audio or video, but we are excited to receive these materials and encourage you to send us a note on our Questions and Comments submission form.
Can poems be included?
Only within certain limits. Poems published in 1923 or earlier (OR poems by authors who died 70 or more years ago) can be put on line without permission. More recent poems require permission, although we can share poems that are already on line elsewhere. We can also make links to other poetry sites.
Can handwritten manuscripts (like drafts of poems) go on the web?
Definitely. We usually need permission, but they can look very good there. See, for example, the Harry Crosby site.
Can I expand a quotation from my work that's already on-line?
Yes. In order to stay within fair use, we have condensed some passages more than we would have liked. We have written for permission for longer excerpts, but we could only manage so many letters. If you would like to see an excerpt from your book or essay expanded, please send us a note on our Questions and Comments submission form asking us to do so and granting permission, along with the text to be added. You can also revise a published analysis that has been reprinted on MAPS. The internet gives every essay a second chance.
Can we recommend links to other sites?
Yes. Please send these through our Questions and Comments submission form. If you find any errors or oversights, we'd be happy to hear about those as well.
I specialize in a particular poet, poets or subject matter and would like to contribute substantially to an existing poet's page--such as compiling excerpts of published analyses for poems that may or may not currently be represented. Can I contribute in this way to an existing page?
Definitely. People adding a single new section to a poet's page will be identified as a contributor. People adding multiple sections to a page can become a co-editor. Send brief contributions (or proposals for longer contributions) for review by the editors through the Questions and Comments submission form.
Can I recommend a new poet for MAPS
Certainly. We strive to provide criticism on a wide variety of poetry, challenging traditional notions of canonicity based upon racial, gender, sexual, political, or historical oversight. Before adding a poet to the site, we try to achieve a critical mass of criticism that justifies a new poet's presence. Please keep this in mind when suggesting poets. If you can point us to useful criticism at the same time, this will help us immensely.
Return to Modern American Poetry Home