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Twenty-First-Century American Poets. John Cusatis, editor, Detroit: Gale/Cengage, 2013. Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 372, 417 Pages.

Described by Library Journal as "hands-down the best overall literary reference work ever published," the Dictionary of Literary Biography has grown to 382 standard volumes covering every major genre and literary culture, not to mention dozens of special editions that have appeared since its arrival in 1978.

Volume 372 contains comprehensive entries on twenty-one prominent American poets publishing in the Twenty-First Century, including U.S. Poets Laureate Robert Pinsky and Tracy K. Smith, and, for the first time, thorough interviews with twelve of these poets and two others whose entries appear in recent DLB volumes. Interviews were conducted by John Cusatis and his AP English Literature students at the School of the Arts in Charleston, SC via Skype or conference call between 2010-2013.

Signed Entry by John Cusatis:
"Introduction"   xix-xxvi.
Interviews by John Cusatis and SOA AP English Literature Students
"Interview with Mary Jo Bang" 28-34
"Interview with Erin Belieu" 42-48
"Interview with Eavan Boland" 70-77
"Interview with William Virgil Davis" 99-107
"Interview with Denise Duhamel" 117-124
"Interview with Stephen Dunn" 134-139
"Interview with Nikky Finney" 149-159
"Interview with Linda Pastan" 176-181
"Interview with Carl Phillips" 182-192
"Interview with D.A. Powell" 227-232
"Interview with Tracy K. Smith" 240-249
"Interview with Elizabeth Spires" 257-266
"Interview with Martha Collins" 285-293
"Interview with R.S. Gwynn" 294-305

Twenty-First-Century American Poets, ed. John Cusatis (DLB 372), with a list price of $345, also seems to me to be too expensive. It contains 21 biographical sketches of poets, most of them still living, supplemented by 14 interviews. But I must reiterate my usual complaint about standard DLB volumes: their format virtually invites redundant entries. Of the poets included here, six, almost a third, of them have been the subject of earlier entries in the series: Sherman Alexie, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Wanda Coleman, Stephen Dunn, Linda Pastan, and Elizabeth Squires. With less overlap and reduced page length and price, these volumes might sell better. Who knows? -Gary Scharnhorst, American Literary Scholarship 2013 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015)

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