Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Nicholson Baker's The Anthologist

Nicholson Baker's The Anthologist appears to be a book of fiction about a poet making an anthology about poetry, but it is also, without being aware of it, a book about music. Baker's discussion of rhyme could easily have its mirror in a discussion of tonality. His character Paul Chowder's anthology could just as well be an anthology of music. I don't want to give anything away (except for copies of the book). I don't want to rob you of a single moment of the pleasure that you'll get from reading this book. And it is pure pleasure.

There are also good tips and tricks, and a few etymological bits. And you might find your way to a lot of good poems that live outside of the book.

Nicholson Baker talks about writing the book here (I was not terribly surprised to learn that he started out as a musician, and wanted to be a composer).

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