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Poems for the Twentieth Century

About the Book

Pulitzer Prize finalist

A poetic history of the twentieth century from one of our most beloved, popular, and highly lauded poets—a stirring, strikingly original, intensely imagined recreation of the most potent voices and searing moments that have shaped our collective experience.

XX is award-winning poet Campbell McGrath’s astonishing sequence of one hundred poems—one per year—written in a vast range of forms, and in the voices of figures as varied as Picasso and Mao, Frida Kahlo and Elvis Presley. Based on years of historical research and cultural investigation, XX turns poetry into an archival inquiry and a choral documentary. Hollywood and Hiroshima, Modernism and propaganda, Bob Dylan and Walter Benjamin—its range of interest encompasses the entire century of art and culture, invention and struggle.

Elegiac and celebratory, deeply tragic and wickedly funny, XX is a unique collection from this acknowledged master of historical poetry, and his most ambitious book yet.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“A funny, learned, awestruck ode to the last century.” —O magazine

“Expansive. . . . The richness of the book . . . comes from McGrath’s deep understanding of history - especially the latter part of the century- and his ability to choose memories that will resonate with readers.” —Washington Post

“Campbell McGrath’s whizzing, ambitious project captures each of the 20th century’s years in the voice of some great cultural icons. . . . This is a book of ideas. But even more than this, it is a book for velocity itself.” —NPR

“XX…seems to launch its own defense of the humanities and their presence in our lives” —New Yorker

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062427359
  • ISBN 10: 0062427350
  • Imprint: Ecco
  • On Sale: 03/22/2016
  • Pages: 240
  • List Price: 31.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: POETRY / American / General
  • BISAC2: HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century

XX by Campbell McGrath

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