"The Little Book of Modern Verse", as its name implies,
is not a formal anthology. The pageant of American poetry
has been so often presented that no necessity exists
for another exhaustive review of the art. Nearly all anthologies, however,
stop short of the present group of poets, or represent them so inadequately
that only those in close touch with the trend of American literature
know what the poet of to-day is contributing to it.
It is strictly, then, as a reflection of our own period,
to show what is being done by the successors of our earlier poets,
what new interpretation they are giving to life, what new beauty
they have apprehended, what new art they have evolved,
that this little book has taken form. A few of the poets included
have been writing for a quarter of a century, and were, therefore,
among the immediate successors of the New England group,
but many have done their work within the past decade and the volume as a whole
represents the twentieth-century spirit.
From the scheme of the book, that of a small, intimate collection,
representative rather than exhaustive, it has been impossible
to include all of the poets who would naturally be included
in a more ambitious anthology. In certain instances, also,
matters of copyright have deterred me from including those
whom I had originally intended to represent, but with isolated exceptions
the little book covers the work of our later poets and gives a hint
of what they are doing.
I have attempted, as far as possible, to unify the collection by arranging
the poems so that each should set the keynote to the next, or at least
bear some relation to it in mood or theme. While it is impossible,
with so varied a mass of material, that such a sequence should be exact,
and in one or two instances the arrangement has been disturbed
by the late addition or elimination of poems, the idea has been
to differentiate the little volume from the typical anthology
by giving it a unity impossible to a larger collection.