Struggling Poet Works in “The Anthologist”
Meet Paul Chowder. He needs to write an introduction to a poetry anthology, his girlfriend has left him and he’s having a series of minor accidents. In short, he’s a mess. But it makes a great story!
I love the way Nicholson Baker wrote this novel – most sentences are fairly short and direct and they almost mimic a poem. The work is light, without being fluffy, a quick read, without being cheesy.
The novel revolves around Paul procrastinating writing his introduction and justifying his frequent attempts to reach out to his ex-girlfriend. Paul is a funny, sad, lovable and annoying character who wins you over immediately.
Baker weaves in a ton of details on poetry, poets and writing, which really connects Paul-the-poet with Paul-the-sad-dumped-guy and creates a well-rounded character with whom we can truly relate. Even if you don’t particularly like poetry, The Anthologist is a great read.