The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics Praise for previous editions: “An extraordinarily helpful volume that will save untold hours of reference time for the student, the general reader, and the literary scholar.”–Modern Language Journal

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics:
Fourth Edition
Roland Greene, editor in chief; Stephen Cushman, general editor
Clare Cavanagh, Jahan Ramazani & Paul Rouzer, associate editors

Through three editions over more than four decades, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics has built an unrivaled reputation as the most comprehensive and authoritative reference for students, scholars, and poets on all aspects of its subject: history, movements, genres, prosody, rhetorical devices, critical terms, and more. Now this landmark work has been thoroughly revised and updated for the twenty-first century. Compiled by an entirely new team of editors, the fourth edition–the first new edition in almost twenty years–reflects recent changes in literary and cultural studies, providing up-to-date coverage and giving greater attention to the international aspects of poetry, all while preserving the best of the previous volumes

At well over a million words and more than 1,000 entries, the Encyclopedia has unparalleled breadth and depth. Entries range in length from brief paragraphs to major essays of 15,000 words, offering a more thorough treatment–including expert synthesis and indispensable bibliographies–than conventional handbooks or dictionaries.

This is a book that no reader or writer of poetry will want to be without.


Table of Contents

Sample this book:

Preface [PDF]

Contributors [PDF]

Topical List of Entries [PDF]

New Entries [PDF]

Electronic Poetry [PDF]

Rhythm [PDF]

Translation [PDF]

Verse and Prose [PDF]

Request an examination copy.


Two for Tuesday – Auden and Picasso

W. H. Auden and Pablo Picasso were brilliant twentieth century artists creating images — one through poetry, and the other, through paintings. Princeton University Press is pleased to announce the publication of two new books focusing on their work.

audenFor the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio
W. H. Auden
Edited and with an introduction by Alan Jacobs

For the Time Being is a pivotal book in the career of one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century. W. H. Auden had recently moved to America, fallen in love with a young man to whom he considered himself married, rethought his entire poetic and intellectual equipment, and reclaimed the Christian faith of his childhood. Then, in short order, his relationship fell apart and his mother, to whom he was very close, died. In the midst of this period of personal crisis and intellectual remaking, he decided to write a poem about Christmas and to have it set to music by his friend Benjamin Britten. Applying for a Guggenheim grant, Auden explained that he understood the difficulty of writing something vivid and distinctive about that most clichéd of subjects, but welcomed the challenge. In the end, the poem proved too long and complex to be set by Britten, but in it we have a remarkably ambitious and poetically rich attempt to see Christmas in double focus: as a moment in the history of the Roman Empire and of Judaism, and as an ever-new and always contemporary event for the believer. For the Time Being is Auden’s only explicitly religious long poem, a technical tour de force, and a revelatory window into the poet’s personal and intellectual development. This edition provides the most accurate text of the poem, a detailed introduction by Alan Jacobs that explains its themes and sets the poem in its proper contexts, and thorough annotations of its references and allusions.

Alan Jacobs is the Clyde S. Kilby Professor of English at Wheaton College in Illinois. He previously edited Auden’s The Age of Anxiety for this series, and is the author of several books, including most recently The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction.

We invite you to read the Preface online:

picassoPicasso and Truth: From Cubism to Guernica
T. J. Clark

Was Picasso the artist of the twentieth century? In Picasso and Truth, T. J. Clark uses his inimitable skills as art historian and writer to answer this question and reshape our understanding of Picasso’s achievement. Supported by more than 200 images, Clark’s new approach to the central figure of modern art focuses on Picasso after the First World War: his galumphing nudes of the early 1920s, the incandescent Guitar and Mandolin on a Table from 1924, Three Dancers done a year later, the hair-raising Painter and Model from 1927, the monsters and voracious bathers that follow, and finally–summing up but also saying farewell to the age of Cubism–the great mural Guernica.

Based on Clark’s A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, delivered at the National Gallery of Art, Picasso and Truth argues that the way to take Picasso’s true measure as an artist is to leave behind biography–the stale stories of lovers and hangers-on and suntans at the beach that presently constitute the “Picasso literature”–and try to follow the steps of his pictorial argument. As always with Clark, specific works of art hold center stage. But finding words for them involves thinking constantly about modern culture in general. Here the book takes Nietzsche as guide.

Is Picasso the artist Nietzsche was hoping for–the one come to cure us of our commitment to Truth? Certainly, as the dark central years of the twentieth century encroached, Picasso began to lose confidence in Cubism’s comprehensiveness and optimism. Picasso and Truth charts this shift in vivid detail, making it possible for us to see Picasso turn away from eyesight, felt proximity, and the ground of shared experience–the warmth and safety that Clark calls “room-space”–to stake everything on a glittering, baffling, unbelievable here and now. And why? Because the most modernity can hope for from art, Picasso’s new paintings seem to say, is a picture of the strange damaged world we have made for ourselves. In all its beauty and monstrosity.

T. J. Clark is George C. and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Art History Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of The Painting of Modern Life (Princeton), The Sight of Death, and Farewell to an Idea, and the coauthor of (with “Retort”) Afflicted Powers.

We invite you to listen to an interview with T. J. Clark on BBC Radio 3 Nightwaves (22 minutes in).

3 Poets from our Contemporary Poetry series at KGB Bar, May 8 – What a line up!

Join KGB Bar as they welcome Gary Whitehead, Jessica Greenbaum, and Anthony Carelli on May 8.Princeton University Press Contemporary Poets

May 08, 2013
7:00 pm9:00 pm
85 East 4th St.
NY, NY 10003


Gary J. Whitehead has authored three collections of poetry, the most recent of which is A Glossary of Chickens, chosen by Paul Muldoon for the Princeton University Press Contemporary Poets Series. His work has appeared in the New Yorker and has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s public radio program the Writer’s Almanac. He has been the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. Whitehead teaches English at Tenafly High School in New Jersey and lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Jessica Greenbaum was born in Brooklyn in 1957, but didn’t ascend to residency there until 1987, after living stints in Long Island, Manhattan and Houston, TX. She is a winner of the Nation’s Discovery Award, PEN’s Emerging Writer Award and the Gerald Cable Prize for her first book, Inventing Difficulty. Her second book, The Two Yvonnes, came out from Princeton’s Contemporary Poets Series . She is the poetry editor for the annual upstreet and lives, with her family, in Ft. Greene, where she takes advantage of foot traffic going to the Brooklyn Flea to raise money for girls’ and women’s civil rights issues in the third world.

Anthony Carelli was raised in Poynette, Wisconsin and studied at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and New York University. In 2011 he was awarded a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University. His poems have appeared in various magazines, including the New Yorker. His first book of poems, Carnations (Princeton, 2011), was named a finalist for the 2011 Levis Reading Prize. Anthony lives in Brooklyn, New York and teaches expository writing at New York University.


Happy Birthday, Shakespeare!

Today is believed to be the day of William Shakespeare’s birth (and death!). Born in 1564, Shakespeare occupies a universal position as one of the greatest literary figures of all time. In celebration of all of his contributions to drama, poetry, literary history and more, we’ve compiled a reading list of our best books on Shakespeare’s life and works. Today, let’s celebrate the man who enriched language and our imaginations, and think of him as we read his own words,  “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” (Twelfth Night, Act II, Scene V).

Lectures on Shakespearek9557
W. H. Auden, Edited by Arthur Kirsch
Here’s Chapter 1
Reflecting the twentieth-century poet’s lifelong engagement with the crowning masterpieces of English literature, these lectures add immeasurably to both our understanding of Auden and our appreciation of Shakespeare.

Shakespeare’s Festive Comedy: A Study of Dramatic Form and Its Relation to Social Custom
C. L. Barber, With a new foreword by Stephen Greenblatt
Check out Chapter 1
Revealing the interplay between social custom and dramatic form, the book shows how the Elizabethan antithesis between everyday and holiday comes to life in the comedies’ combination of seriousness and levity.

Shakespeare’s Brain: Reading with Cognitive Theoryk7024
Mary Thomas Crane
Here’s the Introduction
Crane reveals in Shakespeare’s texts a web of structures and categories through which meaning is created. The approach yields fresh insights into a wide range of his plays, including The Comedy of Errors, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Measure for Measure, and The Tempest.

Hamlet in Purgatory
Stephen Greenblatt
Winner of 2002 Erasmus Institute Book Prize
One of Choice’s Outstanding Academic Titles for 2001
Read Chapter 1
This book constitutes an extraordinary feat that could have been accomplished by only Stephen Greenblatt. It is at once a deeply satisfying reading of medieval religion, an innovative interpretation of the apparitions that trouble Shakespeare’s tragic heroes, and an exploration of how a culture can be inhabited by its own spectral leftovers.

Shakespeare and Elizabeth: The Meeting of Two Mythsk8633
Helen Hackett
Read the Introduction
Did William Shakespeare ever meet Queen Elizabeth I? There is no evidence of such a meeting, yet for three centuries writers and artists have been provoked and inspired to imagine it. This is the first book to explore the rich history of invented encounters between the poet and the Queen, and examines how and why the mythology of these two charismatic and enduring cultural icons has been intertwined in British and American culture.

Johann Gottfried Herder, Translated and edited by Gregory Moore
Here’s Chapter 1
One of the most important and original works in the history of literary criticism, this passionate essay pioneered a new, historicist approach to cultural artifacts by arguing that they should be judged not by their conformity to a set of conventions imported from another time and place, but by the effectiveness of their response to their own historical and cultural context.

k9582Hamlet’s Arab Journey: Shakespeare’s Prince and Nasser’s Ghost
Margaret Litvin
Read the Introduction
Documenting how global sources and models helped nurture a distinct Arab Hamlet tradition, this book represents a new approach to the study of international Shakespeare appropriation.

Double Vision: Moral Philosophy and Shakespearean Drama
Tzachi Zamir
Here’s Chapter 1
Developing an account of literature’s relation to knowledge, morality, and rhetoric, and advancing philosophical-literary readings of Richard III, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, and King Lear, Zamir shows how his approach can open up familiar texts in surprising and rewarding ways.

Poem in Your Pocket Day

The Academy of American Poets declares today, April 18th, national Poem in Your Pocket Day! Today, choose a poem (or maybe a song) and carry it with you all day long. More importantly, share it with others throughout your day. You can share your chosen poem on Twitter with the hashtag #pocketpoem. Today, our pocket poem, “Oyster,” is from Gary Whitehead’s new collection of poems A Glossary of Chickens.


Oyster I am and of course am not,
crammed betimes abed,
awake now and filter the world!

Here, in this wet
section, sucking away unread,
slaked where silt has quarreled

with silt, the as-yet
with now instead
of then, what has it availed

to live the clam, all shut
and somewhat dead,
all abductor-muscled,

flexed for no one but
yourself in your unlit head?
O, open! Be befooled,

three-chambered heart
full of colorless blood,
sharp shell unhandselled.

Better to be rent apart,
all jiggly and liberated,
than to fret an irk until it’s pearled.

Today, choose a poem, keep it in your pocket, and have it on hand to share with friends throughout your day. Don’t forget that the month of April is National Poetry Month. Celebrate in poem!

April is National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month is held every April with the help of schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, writers, and poets throughout the country who come together to celebrate the significance of poetry in our world. Check out AAP’s for 30 Ways to Celebrate poetry month this year. We’re celebrating PUP style with a reading list (and some free excerpts) of some of our favorite poetry books. Enjoy!

For the Time Beingk9415
W. H. Auden, Edited with an introduction by Alan Jacobs
Here’s the Preface
Check out our series W.H. Auden: Critical Editions

Carnations: Poems
Anthony Carelli
Read some sample poems: The Disciples | The Crucifixion | Agnus Dei

The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492
Translated, Edited & Introduced by Peter Cole
Read the Introduction

k9677The Eternal City: Poems
Kathleen Graber
Here’s Chapter 1

The Two Yvonnes: Poems
Jessica Greenbaum
Check out Chapter 1

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics: Fourth Edition
Roland Greene, Stephen Cushman, Clare Cavanagh, Jahan Ramazani & Paul Rouzer
Check out some sample entries on Electronic Poetry, Rhythm, Translation, and Verse & Prose

k9947Heart Beats: Everyday Life and the Memorized Poem
Catherine Robson
Check out the Introduction

A Glossary of Chickens: Poems
Gary J. Whitehead
Read Chapter 1

Be sure to check out our PUP poetry series: Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets & Lockert Library of Poetry in Translation. Enjoy the month of April in poem!

Gary Whitehead reads from “A Glossary of Chickens”

The 2013 Princeton Poetry Festival was this past weekend, but thankfully you can enjoy this video of Gary Whitehead reading from his new collection in the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets, A Glossary of Chickens: Poems.

Thanks to Katherine Kim, one of Whitehead’s Tenafly High School English students, for recording the event. Happy viewing and happy weekend!

Launch of The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics— “004”!

We were delighted to host the launch of the Fourth Edition of The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics at the London Review Bookshop last Thursday evening. Contributors, well-wishers and lifelong fans gathered together to celebrate this magnificent book. Among them was the contributor on Poetry of Russia, Andrew Kahn, who was kind enough to share his admiration for this much-loved work in a speech:

“Like the appearance of a new James Bond film, the appearance of the fourth edition of The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics—004!—is cause for jubilation.

This new edition is a magnificent book and achievement. Was there ever a work that taught us more about the ideal and the practical, the historical and the theoretical? Was there ever a work that in a single volume ranged across so many forms of the imagination? Perhaps the Bible, but then for many of its readers, and I include myself, the Princeton Encyclopedia is something of a Bible, containing revelations, divine writings, miracles of concision and lightly worn authority, the precepts of wisdom literature and abundant storytelling. Except that the God of Poetics wears her learning lightly. While deeply serious, and executed with great technical finish, this Good Book is a lovable and playful work. One would want to praise it in terms commensurate it with its contents and achievement. One would therefore want to be a ‘Meistersinger’ (p. 860) gripped by a ‘furor poeticus’ (p.531), ‘inspired’ (p.709) with ‘intensity’ (p. 710) to dithyrambic flights (p.371), to new heights of ‘agudeza’ (p.26), to praise Princeton Press ‘phonesthemically’ (p.1038) in rhyme, near rhyme or even ottava rima, to lavish ‘hovering accents’ (p.640) or devise hypograms (p.649), to roar with leonine rhymes or fire a cybertext, and then to repeat the pythiambic ode, a paplindrome of rispetto or, if you all joined in, to stage a ‘poetry slam’ (p.1070)—a Zulu izibongo (p. 1553) or an epinikion in the Pindaric mode.

It’s not news that the art of poetry has many rules and forms from ‘agudeza’ to ‘Zulu’. But the Princeton Encyclopedia always manages to make it new. This indispensable manual has a history of being savoured and cherished, and the fourth edition will instruct and inspire faithful users and new readers alike. Its reach is global–the expanded selection of national chapters bears witness to the universality and vitality of poetry. It’s worth its considerable weight in gold (but well priced so have no fear). But there’s a further aspect to the Princeton Encyclopedia that I find profoundly wonderful. Poetry as we see it assembled, explored, taxonomized, appreciated and renewed here is a mirror of civilizations and hearts and minds. It turns out that poetry is nothing less than the sum total of virtually everything that goes into thinking and writing about life. In fact, one has only to glance at topical chapters to see that poetry IS life because poetry goes hand in hand with anthropology, belief, culture, dance, gender, history, linguistics, music, painting, philosophy, politics, psychology, religion, science, technology and therapy. And if I might strike a personal note, there are many reference works about poetry, but there is only one that commands universal respect. Contributing a chapter on my subject, and writing an essayistic account of the lives and lines of the poets of Russia, was a privilege and uplifting responsibility.

Horace, a grand old man of poet legislators and sometimes a killjoy, says ‘Nil admirari est’—‘It’s better not to admire’. But the learning, style and sheer scale of Princeton Encyclopedia is worthy of Horace’s own famous Poetics, now fitted for our times yet ‘more lasting than bronze’. 007 may only have so many lives, 004 is imperishable! The contributors, editors and publishers deserve all our ungrudging admiration, congratulations and thanks for the latest incarnation of this tremendous work of learning and spirit.”

Andrew Kahn — Contributor, Poetry of Russia

This Week’s Book Giveaway

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics: Fourth Edition
Roland Greene, editor in chief
Stephen Cushman, general editor
Clare Cavanagh, Jahan Ramazani & Paul Rouzer, associate editors

Through three editions over more than four decades, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics has built an unrivaled reputation as the most comprehensive and authoritative reference for students, scholars, and poets on all aspects of its subject: history, movements, genres, prosody, rhetorical devices, critical terms, and more. Now this landmark work has been thoroughly revised and updated for the twenty-first century. Compiled by an entirely new team of editors, the fourth edition—the first new edition in almost twenty years—reflects recent changes in literary and cultural studies, providing up-to-date coverage and giving greater attention to the international aspects of poetry, all while preserving the best of the previous volumes

At well over a million words and more than 1,000 entries, the Encyclopedia has unparalleled breadth and depth. Entries range in length from brief paragraphs to major essays of 15,000 words, offering a more thorough treatment—including expert synthesis and indispensable bibliographies—than conventional handbooks or dictionaries.

This is a book that no reader or writer of poetry will want to be without.

  • Thoroughly revised and updated by a new editorial team for twenty-first-century students, scholars, and poets
  • More than 250 new entries cover recent terms, movements, and related topics
  • Broader international coverage includes articles on the poetries of more than 110 nations, regions, and languages
  • Expanded coverage of poetries of the non-Western and developing worlds
  • Updated bibliographies and cross-references
  • New, easier-to-use page design
  • Fully indexed for the first time

The random draw for this book with be Friday 9/21 at 3 pm EST. Be sure to like us on Facebook if you haven’t already to be entered to win!

UVA Today writes “Poetry Encyclopedia Has Something for Everybody”

Sometimes the headline says it all! Anne E. Bromley wrote up this feature about the long-awaited Fourth Edition of the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (PEPP), edited by an entirely new team of scholars under Editor in Chief Roland Greene.

The feature includes interviews with PEPP General Editor Stephen Cushman and Associate Editor Jahan Ramazani, both in the English Department at the University of Virginia.

If you’re on Facebook and are a fan of the new PEPP, make sure you check out (and “Like”) the Facebook page, where you can find this and other stories about the PEPP Fourth Edition.


In celebration of National Poetry Month, here’s a great fact from one of our latest poetry books, The Rise and Fall of Meter:

FACT: “A group of scholars under the name of the ‘Philological Society’ met in London in 1830 with the aim of combining the old classical philology with the new comparative philology. By 1842, Edwin Guest founded the English Philological Society, whose published intentions were to ‘investigate the Philological Illustration of the Classical Writers of Greece and Rome; and to investigate the ‘Structure, Affinities, and the History of Languages’ both in England and in other countries. This is, of course, the society that eventually created the New English Dictionary (NED) and its members included, at one time or another, NED editors James Henry Murray and Richard Chevenix Trench, as well as Alexander Ellis and Henry Sweet, both late-century pioneers in the study of English phonology.”

The Rise and Fall of Meter:
Poetry and English National Culture, 1860—1930

by Meredith Martin

Why do we often teach English poetic meter by the Greek terms iamb and trochee? How is our understanding of English meter influenced by the history of England’s sense of itself in the nineteenth century? Not an old-fashioned approach to poetry, but a dynamic, contested, and inherently nontraditional field, “English meter” concerned issues of personal and national identity, class, education, patriotism, militarism, and the development of English literature as a discipline. The Rise and Fall of Meter tells the unknown story of English meter from the late eighteenth century until just after World War I. Uncovering a vast and unexplored archive in the history of poetics, Meredith Martin shows that the history of prosody is tied to the ways Victorian England argued about its national identity. Gerard Manley Hopkins, Coventry Patmore, and Robert Bridges used meter to negotiate their relationship to England and the English language; George Saintsbury, Matthew Arnold, and Henry Newbolt worried about the rise of one metrical model among multiple competitors. The pressure to conform to a stable model, however, produced reactionary misunderstandings of English meter and the culture it stood for. This unstable relationship to poetic form influenced the prose and poems of Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, W. B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, and Alice Meynell. A significant intervention in literary history, this book argues that our contemporary understanding of the rise of modernist poetic form was crucially bound to narratives of English national culture.

“This innovative book changes the prosodic landscape of modernism and Victorianism—it shows that rather than constituting a dramatic break with outworn Victorian metrics, modernist experiment is continuous with Victorian experiment. From Hopkins to Owen, and Bridges to Pound, this book’s vital and many-sided topics stretch across World War I and come alive through meticulous writing.”—Isobel Armstrong, University of London

We invite you to read the Introduction here:

In Memoriam: Wisława Szymborska, 1923-2012

Wisława Szymborska, the noted poet and essayist, passed away this week at the age of 88. Szymborska published over 400 poems in her lifetime, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996. The Nobel committee noted that she had been called ”the Mozart of poetry,” remarking that the title was “not without justice in view of her wealth of inspiration and the veritable ease with which her words seem to fall into place.”

In 1981, PUP published Sounds, Feelings, Thoughts: Seventy Poems by Wislawa Szymborska with translators Magnus Krynski and Robert Maguire. Of her poetry, Krynski and Maguire said:

“Her verse is marked by high seriousness, delightful inventiveness, a prodigal imagination, and enormous technical skill. She writes of the diversity, plenitude, and richness of the world, taking delight in observing and naming its phenomena. She looks on with wonder, astonishment, and amusement, but almost never with despair.”

Read on for “Memory at Last,” a wonderful  Szymborska poem about remembrance and loss. 







Memory at last has what it sought.

My mother has been found, my father glimpsed.

I dreamed up for them a table, two chairs. They sat down.

Once more they seemed close, and once more living for me.

With the lamps of their two faces, at twilight,

they suddenly gleamed as if for Rembrandt.


Only now can I relate

the many dreams in which they’ve wandered, the many throngs

in which I’ve pulled them out from under wheels,

the many death-throes where they have collapsed into my arms.

Cut off – they would grow back crooked.

Absurdity forced them into masquerade.

Small matter that this could not hurt them outside me

if it hurt them inside me.

The gawking rabble of my dreams heard me calling “mamma”

to something that hopped squealing on a branch.

And they laughed because I had a father with a ribbon in his hair.

I would wake up in shame.


Well, at long last.

On a certain ordinary night,

between a humdrum Friday and Saturday,

they suddenly appeared exactly as I wished them.

Seen in a dream, they yet seemed freed from dreams,

obedient only to themselves and nothing else.

All possibilities vanished from the background of the image,

accidents lacked a finished form.

Only they shone with beauty, for they were like themselves.

They appeared to me a long, long time, and happily.


I woke up. I opened my eyes.

I touched the world as if it were a carved frame.




–Wisława Szymborska