An anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet praises the whale. Shakespeare sympathizes with the hunted hare. Marianne Moore tries to catch a jelly-fish. Virgil and Emily Dickinson contemplate Bees. Kipling lulls a baby seal to sleep. From East to West, from ancient times to modern, from Mei Yu Ch'en on swarming mosquitoes to William Cullen Bryant's solitary waterfowl and Rainer Maria Rilke's enchanted gazelle, from Auden on cats and dogs to E.E. Cummings's verse in the shape of a grasshopper to James Merrill's vision of the octopus, here--selected by John Hollander--are 136 poems that provide exhilarating access to literature's glorious lyric zoo.
John Hollander is the author of seventeen previous books of poetry. His first, A Crackling of Thorns, was chosen by W. H. Auden as the 1958 volume in the Yale Series of Younger Poets. He has written eight books of criticism, including the award-winning Rhyme’s Reason: A Guide to English Verse and The Work of Poetry, and edited or coedited twenty-two collections, among them The Oxford Anthology of English Literature, American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century, and (with Anthony Hecht, with whom he shared the Bollingen Prize in Poetry in 1983) Jiggery-Pokery: A Compendium of Double Dactyls.
Mr. Hollander attended Columbia and Indiana Universities and was a Junior Fellow of the Society of Fellows of Harvard University. He has taught at Connecticut College and Yale, and was a professor of English at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. He is currently Sterling Professor emeritus of English at Yale. In 1990 he received a MacArthur Fellowship .