Originally compiled by bookseller Chloe's Books, this collection contains uncorrected proofs of poetry collections written by various authors between 1984 and 1998, arranged alphabetically by the last name of the author or editor. These advance proofs allowed authors to make corrections to the books before the final versions were printed and released. All of the copies are softcover uncorrected proofs, except where noted. Publicity materials that were originally laid into the proofs, including newsletters, press releases, publishers' letters to reviewers, and other ephemera, are found throughout the collection. The texts were produced by many different publishing companies, including large publishers such as Knopf, Penguin, and Norton, several university presses, including the University of Pittsburgh, Cornell University, and Miami University, and small private presses such as Sheep Meadow Press, Thunder's Mouth Press, and Graywolf Press.
The poets whose work comprises this collection range from Pulitzer prize winners to educators to performance artists. All of the books included in this collection would go on to be published in the United States, but many of the authors featured were born outside of the continental United States, such as Miguel Algarín, Nina Cassian, Ariel Dorfman, Arthur Gregor, Marina Tsvetaeva, and Giannēs [also spelled Yannis] Ritsos. This collection also features works from several former state poet laureates, including Carol Muske-Dukes (California) and Ellen Bryant Voigt (Vermont), as well as 1992 United States Poet Laureate Mona Van Duyn.