The Best American Poetry 2000

The Best American Poetry 2000

"The Best American Poetry 2000" (ISBN 0-743-20033-0), a volume in "The Best American Poetry series", was edited by David Lehman and by guest editor Rita Dove.

In her introduction, Dove defended the idea that poets should be politically committed: " [W] e poets cannot afford to shut ourselves away in our separate discipline, honing our specialized tools while the barbarians — no matter if they are religious fanatics or materialistic profitmongers — continue to sharpen their broadswords. Stepping into the fray of life does not mean dissipation of one's creative powers [...] The reward is a connection on a visceral level with the world [...] ."

Speaking of her selection process, Dove indicated that once potential selections had been identified, either via her own reading or as submitted to her by the series editor, David Lehman, " [m] y method was simple: Read the poems without looking at the author's name, if possible, and put aside for further consideration only those pieces which made me catch my breath. The final criterion was Emily Dickinson's famed description--if I felt the top of my head had been taken off, the poem was in." [ Dove, Rita, Introduction "The Best American Poetry 2000", 2000 ]

Michael Shannon Friedman, reviewing the book in "The Charleston Gazette", noted that Dove had admitted the "subjectivity" of her selections, and observed that, in his own view, the year's best selections were poems by Barbara Hamby, Thomas Lux, Stanly Plumly, Susan Wood and Mary Oliver. [ [ ] Friedman, Michael Shannon, "Editor of 'best' admits subjectivity", book review, "The Charleston Gazette, Charleston, West Virginia, November 19, 2000, page P3F, as accessed from Web site, October 13, 2007]

Poets and poems included

Best American poems of the twentieth century

For this book in the series, Lehman, the general editor "invited his 14 past and present guest editors to list their choices for 15 best poems of the century. Most did, but Adrienne Rich refused flat out, and Louise Glück wrote a thoughtful letter, also declining. It said, in part: 'There can't be, I think, the best of the great ... What remains is preference.'" [ [] Gutin, JoAnn, "Freedom from choice", "Salon", December 6, 2000, accessed January 21, 2007]

From the responses Lehman got, he drew up a composite list of 32 poets whose work was nominated by at least two guest editors. In alphabetical order:

*A. R. Ammons
*W. H. Auden
*John Ashbery
*John Berryman
*Elizabeth Bishop
*Gwendolyn Brooks
*Hart Crane
*Robert Creeley
*T. S. Eliot
*Robert Frost
*Robert Hayden
*Langston Hughes
*Randall Jarrell
*Kenneth Koch
*Robert Lowell
*James Merrill
*Marianne Moore
*Frank O'Hara
*Sylvia Plath
*Ezra Pound
*Kenneth Rexroth
*Edwin Arlington Robinson
*Theodore Roethke
*James Schuyler
*Delmore Schwartz
*William Stafford
*Gertrude Stein
*Wallace Stevens
*Robert Penn Warren
*Richard Wilbur
*William Carlos Williams
*James Wright

ee also

* 2000 in poetry


External links

* [ Web page for contents of the book] , with links to each publication where the poems originally appeared

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