With The Jazz Poetry Anthology, this volume offers a comprehensive exploration of the history of jazz poetry. The Second Set gathers many poets omitted from The Jazz Poetry Anthology, including Gwendolyn Brooks, Arthur Brown, Diane di Prima, Henry Dumas, Nikki Giovanni, David Henderson, Anselm Hollo, Haki Madhubuti, Michael McClure, Larry Neal, Dudley Randall, Eugene B. Redmond, Carolyn M. Rodgers, Ntozake Shange, A. B. Spellman, and Jay Wright. The Second Set fills out the history of jazz poetry with poems written before World War II, as well as those from the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s, and includes contemporary writers from a range of cultural backgrounds, including Ai, Rita Dove, Yusef Komunyakaa, Martin Espada, Joy Harjo, Keorapetse Kgositsile, Michael Longley, Mwatabu Okantah, Charles Simic, Lorenzo Thomas, Derek Walcott, Ron Welburn, and Yevgeny Yevtushenko.
Embracing a wide variety of poems informed by jazz, The Second Set also includes statements of poetics by many of the poets anthologized.