“the saddest of worlds”

Review of anthology of zoo poems.

Penned isn’t out to ruin zoos. Nor does it aim to celebrate their novelty, praise their beauty, condemn them as depraved, or shove them under the boot of critical theory. It’s a testament to the trio’s editorial acumen, then, that the anthology achieves all of these things while skirting any explicit scholarly agenda. 

There are almost 100 poems in Penned, with new and emerging talents from Canada and beyond sandwiched between giants like Dickinson, Hughes, Plath, and cummings. All of the poems were written after 1828 (the year Regent’s Park in London opened its first zoological garden), with the bulk coming from the 20th century.

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