Books: American Poetry: School's Out

Poetry editors are drowning in a sea of manuscripts. It is not unusual for the most obscure journals and quarterlies to be inundated with 3,000 poems a month. Nearly 400 books of poetry are published in the U.S. each year. Antaeus Editor (and poet) Daniel Halpern optimistically calls this a "blossoming of talent," but there is a darker side to the phenomenon. Poet Louis Simpson voices a common refrain when he complains that "there are few readers of poetry of any kind." Statistics bear him out. Poetry is a prestigious loss-leader on publishers'...