The Best American Poetry


The Best American Poetry

The Best American Poetry series consists of annual poetry anthologies, each containing seventy-five poems.

The series, begun by poet and editor David Lehman in 1988, has a different guest editor every year. Lehman, still the general editor of the series, each year contributes a foreword focusing on the state of contemporary poetry, and each year the edition's guest editor also contributes an introduction. The book titles in the series always follow the format of the first, changing only the year: for instance, "The Best American Poetry 1988".

According the Academy of American Poets Web site, "Best American Poetry remains one of the most popular and best-selling poetry books published each year and the series continues to provide a bird's-eye view of the breadth of American poetry." [http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5676] Academy of American Poets Web site, Web page/article titled "Great Anthology: Best American Poetry Series", no byline, accessed January 21, 2006]

A compendium for the first decade of the series has also been published, "The Best of the Best American Poetry 1988-1997", guest-edited by literary critic Harold Bloom, who selected what he regarded as the seventy-five best poems from the previous ten anthologies.

Guest editors

The guest editors of the series, by year:

* 2007: Heather McHugh
* 2006: Billy Collins †
* 2005: Paul Muldoon
* 2004: Lyn Hejinian
* 2003: Yusef Komunyakaa
* 2002: Robert Creeley
* 2001: Robert Hass †
* 2000: Rita Dove
* 1999: Robert Bly
* 1998: John Hollander
* : Harold Bloom
* 1997: James Tate
* 1996: Adrienne Rich
* 1995: Richard Howard
* 1994: A. R. Ammons
* 1993: Louise Glück †
* 1992: Charles Simic †
* 1991: Mark Strand †
* 1990: Jorie Graham
* 1989: Donald Hall †
* 1988: John Ashbery† editors who (as of 2007) have also been U.S. poets laureate

Rules and process

In his 1988 foreword to the first edition of the series, Lehman laid out the following rules:

* Lehman would select a poet each year to serve as guest editor;
* Each year's guest editor would make the final selection of poems;
* Each year's anthology would have poems from the previous calendar year (the 1988 anthology, for instance, would include only poems published in 1987);
* There would be fifty to seventy-five poems in each annual anthology (in fact, there have always been 75 poems);
* The guest editor could select as many as three poems by an individual poet;
* Poets would be asked to submit brief biographical information and, at their option, given the opportunity to write a bit about the poem chosen ("its form or its occasion or the method of composition or any other feature worth remarking on");
* The poems could come from magazines, including large-circulation periodicals and small presses, and in rare instances from books by individual poets;
* For poems that had first appeared more than a year in the past but which had been reprinted in a magazine during the previous calendar year, Lehman decided to have no rule ("To such questions, the anthologist's ever-ready response is: you just play it by ear");
* Foreign poets residing in the United States, "especially in cases where the poet has come to seem a vital presence in a particular American community", would be eligible to appear, and so John Ash, Seamus Heaney, and Derek Walcott all made it into the 1988 edition. Lehman also wrote that he had set some tasks for himself as series editor:

* To maintain continuity from year to year;
* to enforce "such rules as there are";
* to assist the guest editor, in particular by helping find poetry for the guest editor to look over;
* to pick the guest editor.

John Ashbery selected a poem by the series editor for inclusion in the innaugural volume of The Best American Poetry. In his introduction to the 1989 volume, Donald Hall noted that, "The series editor declined to be included." [Hall,Donald, Introduction "The Best American Poetry 1989" 1989, page xxiii] The series editor's own poems have not appeared in subsequent volumes.

In Lehman's foreword to the 1992 book, he noted that translations are ineligible. [Lehman, David, Foreword, "The Best American Poetry 1992", 1992, page x]

Sources of Poems

As of 2007, the following literary journals, magazines, and periodicals have published poems that have been chosen for inclusion in The Best American Poetry:
* The New Yorker
* Poetry
* Collection
* The American Poetry Review
* The Paris Review
* Ploughshares
* Yale Review
* New American Writing
* The Atlantic Monthly
* New Republic
* Boulevard
* The Kenyon Review
* New England Review
* The Threepenny Review
* The Gettysburg Review
* Grand Street
* The Iowa Review
* Michigan Quarterly Review
* TriQuarterly
* Boston Review
* Colorado Review
* Callaloo
* Hanging Loose
* The Southern Review
* Verse
* Western Humanities Review
* AGNI
* Antaeus
* Barrow Street
* Denver Quarterly
* Hambone
* Shenandoah
* Southwest Review
* Antioch Review
* Conjunctions
* Field
* The New Criterion
* Partisan Review
* Beloit Poetry Journal
* Five Points
* The Hudson Review
* The New York Review of Books
* Sulfur
* Georgia Review
* New Letters
* SHINY
* ACM
* Epoch
* O.blek
* Seneca Review
* Green Mountains Review
* Ontario Review
* POOL
* The World
* The Virginia Quarterly Review
* Chicago Review
* Cincinnati Review
* Crab Orchard Review
* Exquisite Corpse
* Fence
* jubilat
* No
* Tin House
* The Alaska Quarterly Review
* American Letters and Commentary
* Chelsea
* Crazyhorse
* Fine Madness
* Harvard Review
* Many Mountains Moving
* Pleiades
* Prairie Schooner
* Sentence
* Witness
* 88
* Black Warrior Review
* Connecticut Review
* Cream City Review
* LIT
* Mississippi Review
* Mudfish
* Nation
* North American Review
* Ohio Review
* Pequod
* Poetry New York
* Raritan
* River Styx
* Skanky Possum
* The Hat
* Urbanus
* ZYZZYVA
* Aerial
* American Poet
* BOMB
* Boston Phoenix
* Columbia Poetry Review
* Conduit
* Facture
* Gulf Coast
* Indiana Review
* LUNA
* Margie
* Massachusetts Review
* Meridien
* No Roses Review
* Quarterly West
* Salmagundi
* Temblor
* Third Coast
* Tyuonyi
* 32 Poems
* American Voice
* Atlanta Review
* Blue Sofa
* Boston Book Review
* Brooklyn Review
* Café Review
* Can We Have Our Ball Back?
* Court Green
* CROWD
* DCPoetry Anthology 2003
* Double Take
* Extracts from Pelican Bay
* Fulcrum
* Gargoyle
* Harvard Magazine
* Hotel Amerika
*
* Journal
* Kiosk
* London Review of Books
* Lyric
* Manoa
* Mid-American Review
* New York Quarterly
* The New York Times
* Northwest Review
* Notre Dame Review
* Open City
* Painted Bride Quarterly
* Parnassus
* PMS
* Poet Lore
* Poetry Flash
* Poetry Northwest
* Princeton University Library Chronicle
* Progressive
* Provincetown Arts
* Rattapallax
* Rattle
* Rhino
* River City
* Santa Monica Review
* Sewanee Review
* Sewanee Theological Review
* Slate
* Solo
* Subtropics
* The Canary
* Tikkun
* The Times Literary Supplement
* Volt
* Xconnect
* 26
* 3rd Bed
* Acorn
* Alkali Flats
* American Scholar
* Americas Review
* Antennae
* apex of M
* Arshile
* Ascent
* Aufgabe
* Avec
* B City
* Bitter Oleander
* Blasts!
* Bombay Gin
* Bookforum
* Boondoggle
* Bridge
* Brilliant Corners
* Broadwaydn
* Chain
* Clockwatch Review
* Common Ground
* Common Sense
* Cortland Review
* Croonenbergh's Fly
* Crux
* Deluxe Rubber Chicken
* Disbelief
* Drum Voices Review
* Ecopoetics
* Ecotone
* Empathy
* Endicott Review
* Evansville Review
* Failbetter
* Farmer's Market
* Faucheuse
* Figdust
* Formalist
* Fourteen Hills
* Free Lunch
* Gastronomica
* Germ
* Glass Technology
* Harper's Magazine
* Hayden's Ferry Review
* Heavy Daughter Blues
* Hotel Lautreamont
* How(ever)
* Image
* In Posse Review
* Insurance Magazine
* Iodine Poetry Review
* Jacket
* Journal of Family Life
* Kalliope
* La Petite Zine
* Lingo
* Literal Latte
* Literary Imagination
* Longhouse
* Los Angeles Review
* Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern
* MiPoesias
* Mungo vs. Ranger
* Nebraska Review
* New Millennium Writings
* Nightsun
* Nimrod
* Occident
* OnTheBus
* ’Pataphysics
* Patterson Literary Review
* Pharos
* Phoebe
* Poetry East
* Poetry Project Newsletter
* Potomac Review
* Pressed Wafer
* Prose Poem
* Quarter After Eight
* Rapidfeed
* Rapture
* Rosebud
* Ruins
* Sacramento News & Review
* Sal Mimeo
* Salt
* Salt Hill
* Shankpainter
* Sites
* Slope
* Sonora Review
* Spinning Jenny
* Spoon River Poetry Review
* Spoon River Quarterly
* Stud Duck
* Sun
* Sycamore Review
* Talisman
* Tampa Review
* Tar River Poetry
* Tarpaulin Sky
* The Texas Observer
* Texas Review
* The Butcher Shop
* The Progressive
* the tiny
* Tor House Newsletter
* Van Gogh's Ear
* Vocabula Review
* Volcano Inside
* Washington Post Magazine
* Waterstone
* Webber Studies
* Willow Springs

Advisors and assistants

As of 2007, the following 34 individuals have been thanked for their advice and assistance (in the Acknowledgments of individual editions) by series editor David Lehman :
*John Ashbery
*Angela Ball
*Mark Bibbins
*J.D. Bullard
*C.A. Carlson
*Prathima Christadas
*Shanna Compton
*James Cummins
*Peter Davis
*John Diamond-Nigh
*Amy Donow
*Denise Duhamel
*Steve Dube
*Jennifer Factor
*Kate Fox-Reynolds
*Beth Gylys
*Kim Gek Lin Harrison (Kim Gek Lin Short)
*Stacey Harwood
*Susan Hutton
*Martha Kinney
*Christine Korfhage
*Deborah Landau
*Rebecca Livingston
*Maggie Nelson
*Kelly Nichols
*Kathy Ossip
*Danielle Pafunda
*Karl Parker
*Liam Rector
*Sarah Ruth Jacobs
*Carly Sachs
*John Schertzer
*Michael Schiavo
*Susan WheelerOf these 34 advisors and assistants to the series, 13 have had poems selected for inclusion in the anthology. In total, 40 poems by advisors and assistants to the series have appeared in its volumes. [

John Ashbery (1988-1994, 1997, 1998 The Best of the Best, 2001, 2002, 2004-2006), Angela Ball (2001),Mark Bibbins (2004),Shanna Compton (2005), James Cummins (1994, 1995, 1998, 2005), Denise Duhamel (1993, 1994, 1998, 2000), Stacey Harwood (2005), Rebecca Livingston (2006),Maggie Nelson (2002),Danielle Pafunda (2004, 2006, 2007),Liam Rector (1992), Carly Sachs (2004),Susan Wheeler 1988,1991,1993, 1996, 1998,The Best of the Best 2003, 2005).]

Critical reception of the series

According to the Academy of American Poets Web site, " [t] he Best American Poetry series has become one of the mainstays of the poetry publication world." The Academy Web site called the introductions to the collection by the guest editors, as well as Lehman's "state-of-poetry" forewords, "indespensible." As a whole, the anthologies "seem to capture the zeitgeist of the current attitudes in American poetry."

However, the Academy article also noted that the series and its editors are "often criticized for their selections and assessments (common complaints include the exclusion of experimental poets, lack of diversity, and allegiance to poetry's "old guard") [...] "

Notes

External links

* [http://bestamericanpoetry.com/index.php] Best American Poetry series Web site


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