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101 MODERN JAPANESE POEMS, compiled by Makoto Ooka, translated by Paul McCarthy, edited by Janine Beichman. Thames River Press, 2012, 144 pp., $45.00 (hardcover)

When a new anthology of American poetry appears — The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry edited by Rita Dove is just one of the recent examples — voices are inevitably raised over the editor’s selections and rejections, and sometimes over whether a new anthology of poetry from a period already well-surveyed is necessary at all. These arguments inspire some fiery polemics, and one can see why. Such questions — whether poet A is deserving of space when poet B gets none; whether the collection as a whole tells a story about the work surveyed that is compelling and new — are eminently worth debating, and one imagines that such discussions took place when Makoto Ooka edited the Japanese version of this anthology in the late 1990s.

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