Literature: A Pocket Anthology

R. S. Gwynn  
Total pages
July 2014
Related Titles


A refreshing alternative to voluminous literature anthologies, this compact, inexpensive, and diverse collection of fiction, poetry, and drama provides a concise yet complete introduction to the study of literature.


  • This pocket-sized anthology focuses on selections; streamlined apparatus is limited to the essentials.
  • This text is priced well below traditional literature anthologies.
  • Organized chronologically within each genre, the wide range of selections features both classic and contemporary authors, presenting a diversity of forms and voices.
  • Individual Fiction, Poetry, and Drama introductions provide an overview for reading and analyzing each genre, defining key terms in context.
  • “Appendix: Writing About Literature” offers a brief overview of organizational strategies, research methods, and MLA style citation.
  • A Thematic Table of Contents allows instructors to teach with a thematic rather than a genre approach.
  • An"Index of Critical Terms" provides a cross-referenced list of terms covered in the text.

New to this Edition

  • The fiction collection now includes several beloved classics including Nathanial Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown," Guy de Maupassant's "The Necklace,"  John Updike's "A&P," and Ernest Hemingway's "Hills LIke White Elephants."
  • Short story authors new to this collection include award winners Amy Tan Rick Moody, and Johnathan Safran Foer.
  • The poetry collection brings new selections from classic and contemporary authors, including Anne Bradstreet, John Keats, E..E. Cummings, and  Langston Hughes,  as well as fresh models from poets new to this edition including Denise Duhamel, Kevin Prufer, Rob Griffith, and Caki Wilkinson whose work brings poetry into the 21st century.
  • The drama section includes the most popular teachable plays including Shakespeare's Othello, Hernik Ibsen, A Doll House, and August Wilson's Fences.  
  • And as always, Literature: A Pocket Anthology offers a comprehensive collection of poetry, short fiction, and drama at an affordable price and an appealing length.

Table of Contents


Experience, Experiment, Expand: Three Reasons to Study Literature

* indicates a selection new to this edition



Introduction to Fiction

The Telling of the Tale

The Short Story Genre

Reading and Analyzing Short Fiction


Nathanel Hawthorne (1804-1864)

  * Young Goodman Brown

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

   The Cask of Amontillado

Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909)

   A White Heron

Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893)

  *The Necklace

Kate Chopin  (1851-1904)

   The Story of an Hour

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935)

   The Yellow Wallpaper

Willa Cather (1876-1947)

   Paul’s Case

James Joyce (1882-1941)


Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)


William Faulkner (1897-1962)

   A Rose for Emily

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)

   *Hills Like White Elephants

Richard Wright (1908-1960)

   The Man Who Was Almost a Man

John Cheever (1912-1982)


Ralph Ellison (1914-1995)

   A Party Down at the Square

Shirley Jackson (1919-1965)

   The Lottery

Hisaye Yamamoto (b. 1921)

   Seventeen Syllables

Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964)

   *Good Country People

Gabriel García Márquez (b. 1928)

   A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

Chinua Achebe (b. 1930)

   Dead Men’s Path

*John Updike (1932-2009)

   *A & P

Raymond Carver (1938-1988)


Joyce Carol Oates (b. 1938)

   Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

Margaret Atwood (b. 1939)

   Happy Endings

Bobbie Ann Mason (b. 1940)


Alice Walker (b. 1944)

   Everyday Use

*Amy Tan (b.1952)

  *Two Kinds

Louise Erdrich (b. 1954)

   The Red Convertible

*Rick Moody (b. 1961)


Sherman Alexie

   This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

*Etgar Keret (b. 1967)

*Creative Writing

Jhumpa Lahiri (b. 1967)

   A Temporary Matter

Susan Perabo (b. 1969)

   The Payoff

*Jill Patterson (b. 1972)

*The Fires We Can't Control

*Johnathan Safran Foer (b. 1977)

   * Here We Aren't, So Quickly



Introduction to Poetry

An Anecdote: Where Poetry Starts 

Speaker, Listener, and Context 

“The Star-Spangled Banner” 

Lyric, Narrative, Dramatic 

The Language of Poetry 

 Figurative Language 

Allegory and Symbol 

Tone of Voice 

Repetition: Sounds and Schemes 

Meter and Rhythm 

Free Verse and Open Form

Stanza Forms 

Fixed Forms 

Literary History and Poetic Conventions 


Writing about Poetry




   Western Wind

   Bonny Barbara Allan

   Sir Patrick Spens

Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503?-1542)

   They Flee from Me 

   Whoso List to Hunt

Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

   Amoretti: Sonnet 75

Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586)

   Astrophel and Stella: Sonnet 1

Robert Southwell (1561?-1595)

   The Burning Babe

Michael Drayton (1563-1631)

   Idea: Sonnet 61

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

   Sonnet 18

   Sonnet 20

   Sonnet 29

   Sonnet 73

   Sonnet 116

   Sonnet 130

   When Daisies Pied (Spring and Winter)

Thomas Campion (1567-1620)

   There Is a Garden in Her Face

John Donne (1572-1631)

   The Flea

   Holy Sonnet 10

   Holy Sonnet 14

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

Ben Jonson (1573-1637)

   On My First Son

   Slow, Slow, Fresh Fount

Mary Wroth (1587?-1651?)

In this Strange Labyrinth How Shall I Turn

Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

   To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

George Herbert (1593-1633)

   Easter Wings

   The Pulley


Edmund Waller (1606-1687)


John Milton (1608-1674)

   How Soon Hath Time

   On the Late Massacre in Piedmont

   When I Consider How My Light Is Spent

Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672)

   The Author to Her Book

*To My Dear and Loving Husband

Richard Lovelace (1618-1658)

   To Lucasta, Going to the Wars

Andrew Marvell (1621-1678)

   To His Coy Mistress

John Dryden (1631-1700)

   To the Memory of Mr. Oldham

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

   A Description of a City Shower

Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

   from An Essay on Criticism

 Thomas Gray (1716-1771)

   Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

William Blake (1757-1827)

   The Chimney Sweeper

   The Little Black Boy 

   A Poison Tree

   The Tyger

Robert Burns (1759-1796)

   A Red, Red Rose

   John Barleycorn

William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

   I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

   It Is a Beauteous Evening

  *Llines: Composted a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting The Banks of the Wye During a Tour. July 13, 1798

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

   Frost at Midnight

   Kubla Khan

   Work Without Hope

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)

   She Walks in Beauty


   When We Two Parted

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

   Ode to the West Wind


John Keats (1795-1821)

   * Bright Star, Would I Were Stedfast as Thou Art

   La Belle Dame sans Merci

   *Ode on a Grecian Urn

   On First Looking into Chapman's Homer

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

   Sonnets from the Portuguese, 18

   Sonnets from the Portuguese, 43

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

   The Arsenal at Springfield

   The Cross of Snow

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

The Haunted Palace

The Raven

Sonnet to Science

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

   The Lady of Shallot

   Tears, Idle Tears


Robert Browning (1812-1889)

   My Last Duchess

   Porphyria's Lover

Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

   A Noiseless Patient Spider

   O Captain, My Captain

 Song of Myself, 6

   Song of Myself, 11

   When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer

Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)

   Dover Beach

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

   After Great Pain, a Formal Feeling Comes

   Because I Could Not Stop for Death

   The Brain Is Wider than the Sky

   A Narrow Fellow in the Grass

   Some Keep the Sabbath Going to Church

   The Soul Selects Her Own Society

   Tell All the Truth but Tell It Slant

   Wild Nights--Wild Nights

Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)


Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

   Ah, Are You Digging on My Grave?

Channel Firing

   Neutral Tones

   The Ruined Maid

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

   God's Grandeur

   Pied Beauty

   Spring and Fall: To a Young Child

Emma Lazarus (1849-1887)

   The New Colossus

A. E. Housman (1859-1936)

   Eight O'Clock

   Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now

   “Terence, This Is Stupid Stuff . . .”

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

   The Lake Isle of Innisfree

   Leda and the Swan

   Sailing to Byzantium

   The Second Coming

   The Song of Wandering Aengus

Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)


   The Mill

   Richard Cory

Stephen Crane (1871-1900)

   The Trees in the Garden Rained Flowers

   The Wayfarer

Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)

   We Wear the Mask

Robert Frost (1874-1963)

   Acquainted with the Night

   After Apple-Picking


   Home Burial

   The Road Not Taken

   Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)

   Anecdote of the Jar

   Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock

   The Emperor of Ice-Cream

   The Snow Man

 The Worms at Heaven’s Gate

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)

   The Last Words of My English Grandmother

   The Red Wheelbarrow

   Spring and All

Ezra Pound (1885-1972)

   In a Station of the Metro

 The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter

H. D. (Hilda Doolittle) (1886-1961)

   Pear Tree

   Sea Rose

Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)


Marianne Moore (1887-1972)

   The Fish


T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)

   The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)

   If I Should Learn, in Some Quite Casual Way

   Oh, Oh, You Will Be Sorry for that Word

   What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, and Where, and Why

Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)

   Dulce et Decorum Est

E.. E.. Cummings (1894-1962)

   *anyone lived in a pretty how town

  pity this busy monster,manunkind

  plato told


 Jean Toomer (1894-1967)

   Georgia Dusk

Louise Bogan (1897-1970)


Langston Hughes (1902-1967)

   Dream Boogie

   *Theme for English B

   The Weary Blues

Countee Cullen (1903-1946)


   Yet Do I Marvel

W. H. Auden (1907-1973)

Musée des Beaux Arts

   The Unknown Citizen

Theodore Roethke (1908-1963)


   My Papa's Waltz

   Root Cellar

Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)

   The Fish

   One Art

Robert Hayden (1913-1980)

   Those Winter Sundays

Dudley Randall (b. 1914)

   Ballad of Birmingham

William Stafford (1914-1993)

   Traveling through the Dark

Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)

   Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night

Weldon Kees (1914-1955)

   For My Daughter

Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000)

   the ballad of chocolate Mabbie

   the mother

   We Real Cool

Lawrence Ferlinghetti (b. 1919)

   A Coney Island of the Mind, #15

May Swenson (1919-1989)

   How Everything Happens

Howard Nemerov (1920-1991)

   A Primer of the Daily Round

Richard Wilbur (b. 1921)

   * For C

   The Writer

   Year's End

Philip Larkin (1922-1985)

   Next, Please

  This Be the Verse

James Dickey (1923-1997)

   The Heaven of Animals

Alan Dugan (b. 1923)

   Love Song: I and Thou

Anthony Hecht (b. 1923)

   The Dover Bitch

   Third Avenue in Sunlight

Louis Simpson (1923-2012)

   American Classic

   My Father in the Night Commanding No

Vassar Miller (1924-1997)


Donald Justice (b. 1925)

   Counting the Mad

Carolyn Kizer (b. 1925)

   The Ungrateful Garden

Maxine Kumin (b. 1925)

   Noted in the New York Times

Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)

   A Supermarket in California

James Merrill (1926-1995)

   Casual Wear

W. D. Snodgrass (1926-2009)

   Mementos, I

John Ashbery (b. 1927)

Paradoxes and Oxymorons

W. S. Merwin (b. 1927)

   The Last One

James Wright (1927-1980)

   Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio

   Saint Judas

Philip Levine (b. 1928)

   You Can Have It

Anne Sexton (1928-1974)


Thom Gunn (b. 1929)


X. J. Kennedy (b. 1929)

   In a Prominent Bar in Secaucus One Day

   Little Elegy

Adrienne Rich (1929-2012)

   Aunt Jennifer's Tigers


Gary Snyder (b. 1930)

   A Walk

Miller Williams (b. 1930)

   The Book

Linda Pastan (b. 1932)


Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)




Gerald Barrax (b. 1933)

   Strangers like Us: Pittsburgh, Raleigh, 1945-1985

Mary Oliver (b. 1935)

The Black Walnut Tree

Fred Chappell (b. 1936)

   Narcissus and Echo

Lucille Clifton (b. 1936)

   homage to my hips

   wishes for sons

Marge Piercy (b. 1936)

   What’s That Smell in the Kitchen?

Betty Adcock (b. 1938)


Robert Phillips (b. 1938)

   The Stone Crab: A Love Poem

Dabney Stuart (b. 1938)

   Discovering My Daughter

Margaret Atwood (b. 1939)

   Siren Song

Stephen Dunn (b. 1939)

   The Sacred

Ted Kooser (b. 1939)

  Abandoned Farmhouse

Tom Disch (b. 1940)

   Ballade of the New God

Florence Cassen Mayers (b. 1940)

   All American Sestina

Pattiann Rogers (b. 1940)


Billy Collins (b. 1941)

   *The Lanyard

Gibbons Ruark (b. 1941)

   The Visitor

Gladys Cardiff (b. 1942)


Charles Martin (b. 1942)


Sharon Olds (b. 1942)

   The One Girl at the Boys Party

Diane Lockward (b. 1943)

   My Husband Discovers Poetry

*Alfred Corn (b. 1943)


Ellen Bryant Voight (b. 1943)


Robert Morgan (b. 1944)

   Mountain Bride

Craig Raine (b. 1944)

   A Martian Sends a Postcard Home

Enid Shomer (b. 1944)

   Women Bathing at Bergen-Belsen

Wendy Cope (b. 1944)

   Rondeau Redoublé

Kay Ryan (b. 1945)


Leon Stokesbury (b. 1945)

   The Day Kennedy Died  

John Whitworth (b. 1945)


Marilyn Nelson (b. 1946)

   The Ballad of Aunt Geneva

Jim Hall (b. 1947)

   Maybe Dats Your Pwoblem Too

Yusef Komunyakaa (b. 1947)

   Facing It

Timothy Steele (b. 1948)

   Sapphics against Anger

James Fenton (b. 1949)

   God, a Poem

Sarah Cortez (b. 1950)

   Tu Negrito

Carolyn Forché (b. 1950)

   The Colonel

Dana Gioia (b. 1950)

   Planting a Sequoia

Rodney Jones (b. 1950)

   Winter Retreat: Homage to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Timothy Murphy (b. 1950)

   Case Notes

Andrew Hudgins (b. 1951)

   Air View of an Industrial Scene 

Judith Ortiz Cofer (b. 1952)

   The Latin Deli: An Ars Poetica

Rita Dove (b. 1952)

   American Smooth

Mark Jarman (b. 1952)

   After Disappointment

Julie Kane (b. 1952)

   Alan Doll Rap

Naomi Shihab Nye (b. 1952)

   The Traveling Onion

Alberto Ríos (b. 1952)

   The Purpose of Altar Boys

Julia Alvarez (b. 1953)

   Bilingual Sestina

Harryette Mullen (b. 1953)

   Dim Lady

Kim Addonizio (b. 1954)

Sonnenizio on a Line from Michael Drayton

David Mason (b. 1954)

   Fog Horns

Mary Jo Salter (b. 1954)

   Welcome to Hiroshima

Cathy Song (b. 1955)

   Stamp Collecting

Ginger Andrews (b. 1956)

   Primping in the Rearview Mirror

Amy Gerstler (b. 1956)

   Advice from a Caterpillar

 Rebecca Foust (b. 1957)

   Family Story

*Denise Duhamel (b. 1961)

   *My Strip Club

Catherine Tufariello (b. 1963)

   Useful Advice

Natasha Trethewey (b. 1966)

   Domestic Work, 1937

Craig Arnold (1967-2009)

   The Singers

Allison Joseph (b. 1967)

   The Athlete

Brian Turner (b. 1967)

   Here, Bullet

Suji Kwock Kim (b. 1968)


A. E. Stallings (b. 1968)

   First Love: A Quiz 

*Kevin Prufer (b. 1969)

  *The Viillain and His Helicopter: Possble Movie Rental Version

*Bob Griffith (b. 1970)

  *In the Kitchen

 Ernest Hilbert (b. 1970)

   Domestic Situation

*Alexander Long (b. 1972)

   *Flash Forward with The Amistad Before Us in the Distance 

Chelsea Rathburn (b. 1975)

*What Was Left

Emily Moore (b. 1977)

   Auld Lang Syne

*Caki Wilkinsen (b. 1980)




Introduction to Drama

The Play’s the Thing

Origins of Drama

Aristotle on Tragedy

Brief History and Description of Dramatic Conventions


Sophocles  (496?-406 B.C.)


William Shakespeare (1564-1616)


Twelfth Night

Henrik Ibsen  (1828-1906)

   *A Doll House

Susan Glaspell (1882-1948)


August Wilson  (b. 1945)


David Ives (b. 1950)

   Sure Thing

Milcha Sanchez-Scott (b. 1953)

   The Cuban Swimmer


Appendix A: Writing about Literature


Appendix B: Thematic Approaches to Literature


Index of Critical Terms


Index of Authors, Titles, and First Lines of Poems





R. S. Gwynn has edited several other books, including Drama: A Pocket Anthology; Poetry: A Pocket Anthology; Fiction: A Pocket Anthology; The Art of the Short Story (with Dana Gioia); and Contemporary American Poetry: A Pocket Anthology (with April Lindner).  He has also authored five collections of poetry, including No Word of Farewell: Selected Poems, 1970-2000. He has been awarded the Michael Braude Award for verse from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Gwynn is University Professor of English and Poet-in-Residence at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.