After Moby-Dick, An Anthology of New Poetry is comprised of sixty-one poems, all based on Melville’s great novel and written since 2000 by thirty-three contemporary American poets. Two of the poets featured in the anthology are residents of the New Bedford area and have published collections of poetry with Spinner Publications: Laurie Robertson-Lorant, author of The Man Who Lived Among the Cannibals and Everett Hoagland, author of This City and Other Poems. Hoagland also edited Spinner’s Ocean Voices: An Anthology of Ocean Poems.
Recognizing that Moby-Dick, itself a seafaring epic song, inspired numerous poets during the twentieth century, After Moby-Dick editors conducted a national search for twenty-first century Moby-Dick poetry. From approximately 100 submissions, they chose thirty-three poets to contribute to the anthology. Using those poems as the nucleus for the anthology and drawing on other poems related to Moby-Dick by established twentieth-first century poets, After Moby-Dick is the stunning and memorable result.
The anthology includes prefaces by both editors: Elizabeth’s focuses on Moby-Dick-inspired poetry primarily of the twentieth century, establishing a poetic and historical context for the poems in the anthology; Kylan’s preface focuses on the diversity and contemporaneity of the poems—focusing on their style and subject matter—contained in the anthology itself. The anthology is divided into two parts: “Re-Presenting Moby-Dick” sets forth poems in relation to the narrative of Melville’s novel, the appearance of its characters, and the order of its events and images and “Re-Incarnating Moby-Dick” groups poems in relation to a range of concepts represented in the novel.
Although some of the poets in After Moby-Dick do not yet have national recognition, others included in the anthology such as Dan Beachy-Quick and Jessica Cuello are both well-known and highly regarded poets.
Editor Elizabeth Schultz is an esteemed Melville scholar, with two highly regarded books on Melville as well as numerous essays on his works. She is retired from being a distinguished professor at the University of Kansas for thirty-one years, a past president of the Melville Society, and a founding member of the Melville Society Cultural Project at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Editor Kylan Rice is a PhD. graduate student in English at the University of North Carolina. Both Elizabeth and Kylan are poets. In addition to her scholarship on Melville, Elizabeth has published a memoir, a collection of essays, a collection of short stories, and six volumes of poetry.