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The Best of the Best American Poetry 1988-97

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An anthology of contemporary poets presents works that reflect the diversity in American poetry over the past ten years.


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An anthology of contemporary poets presents works that reflect the diversity in American poetry over the past ten years.

30 review for The Best of the Best American Poetry 1988-97

  1. 4 out of 5

    W.B.

    I thought this was a fairly insulting move by Lehman. He didn't choose these though, did he? Wasn't it Bloom or someone wholly unimaginative like that? First, you invite distinguished poets to choose the best American poetry in each year, and then you turn around after a decade and say, "Well, here's the real stuff...let me show you the few time these losers actually chose REAL POETRY." And then you have the one editing it choose the most conservative work from those years and hold it up as exem I thought this was a fairly insulting move by Lehman. He didn't choose these though, did he? Wasn't it Bloom or someone wholly unimaginative like that? First, you invite distinguished poets to choose the best American poetry in each year, and then you turn around after a decade and say, "Well, here's the real stuff...let me show you the few time these losers actually chose REAL POETRY." And then you have the one editing it choose the most conservative work from those years and hold it up as exemplary. Poets who favored experimental work (like John Ashbery in the inaugural anthology, or Jorie Graham) were pretty much flattened by the big formalist/populist bus driven here by some Ralph Kramden wannabe tastemaker. Yuck! David Lehman is annoying enough in his introductions (esp. the one for Billy Bob Thornton Collins) and here he facilitated one of the most annoying moves the BAP series ever made.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lance

    Maybe as interesting for the cantankerous ramblings of Harold Bloom justifying, among other things, why he included NO poems from the first particular year when the original reviewers selected persons of color and other marginalized people because it did not correspond with his "Western Canon" thesis. Maybe as interesting for the cantankerous ramblings of Harold Bloom justifying, among other things, why he included NO poems from the first particular year when the original reviewers selected persons of color and other marginalized people because it did not correspond with his "Western Canon" thesis.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Frederick Gault

    An excellent collection! Donald Hall's Prophecy is in it, it blew me away: ". . .let oxen and athletes flash into grease: " ". . . and the earth split open like a corpse's gassy stomach and the sun turn as black as a widow's skirt " An excellent collection! Donald Hall's Prophecy is in it, it blew me away: ". . .let oxen and athletes flash into grease: " ". . . and the earth split open like a corpse's gassy stomach and the sun turn as black as a widow's skirt "

  4. 4 out of 5

    Marc Kohlman

    Fantastic edition! Has also given me inspiration for my own poetic works.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elaysee

    Rarely moved me greatly. Bloom's tirade about Objective Poetic Truth definitely made me want to read the installment he spurned! Rarely moved me greatly. Bloom's tirade about Objective Poetic Truth definitely made me want to read the installment he spurned!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sherry Chandler

    I found this anthology soured by a rambling and vituperative introduction by the volume editor, Harold Bloom, who refused to include any poems at all from the 1996 edition, calling it a "monumental representation of the enemies of the aesthetic," and then setting off on a ranting defense of the canon. The 1996 edition, edited by Adrienne Rich, was blatantly political and a lot of the poems, read as I read them, a couple of decades after the fact, seemed highly forgettable to me. Nor am I one of t I found this anthology soured by a rambling and vituperative introduction by the volume editor, Harold Bloom, who refused to include any poems at all from the 1996 edition, calling it a "monumental representation of the enemies of the aesthetic," and then setting off on a ranting defense of the canon. The 1996 edition, edited by Adrienne Rich, was blatantly political and a lot of the poems, read as I read them, a couple of decades after the fact, seemed highly forgettable to me. Nor am I one of those who dismisses Bloom as a pettifogging old white man, though he was doing a good imitation of one here. I just thought he was particularly ungracious and unfair and I thought shame on him. Nor did I find his "Best of the Best" any more memorable than Rich's 1996 volume. Flipping back through to see what poems I'd marked, I find one by Richard Wilbur and one by James Merrill. The best of the poets in the 96 volume, according to Bloom, had done "better work elsewhere" and I fear the same is true for many of the poets in The Best of the Best. It's all old news, I know. If this volume caused any kind of stir at the time, I was too busy raising teen-agers to notice it. What I did enjoy in this volume was the series of excerpts from the introductions written by the editors of the first ten volumes.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Marci

    Poetry is difficult to rate. I was not familiar with any of these poems. Since it is 2013, I don't know which ones have withstood the test of time. The excerpts from previous issues of Best of the Best were insightful about how we view poetry. Poetry is difficult to rate. I was not familiar with any of these poems. Since it is 2013, I don't know which ones have withstood the test of time. The excerpts from previous issues of Best of the Best were insightful about how we view poetry.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Patti K

    This compilation is the 25th anniversary of the Best Series, newer than cited on the above description. It is chock full of good poems. Philip Levine, Jane Hirshfield, Carl Phillips, Rae Armantrout, Stanley Kunitz, Jane Kenyon, and many more make this volume a delight. I recommend.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Fanning

    Liked a couple things in here but not enough.

  10. 5 out of 5

    SmarterLilac

    Though I would disagree with many of the editor's selections for this one, it did help me appreciate some of the poems I passed by in the other volumes. Though I would disagree with many of the editor's selections for this one, it did help me appreciate some of the poems I passed by in the other volumes.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    I never saw this here book, to this day.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    school

  13. 4 out of 5

    Holly Bentley

  14. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Harvey

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jason Huff

  16. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lil

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  19. 4 out of 5

    Susan Choi

  20. 5 out of 5

    Acolyte

  21. 5 out of 5

    David Townsend

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rhomboid Goatcabin

  23. 5 out of 5

    Soitisasif

  24. 4 out of 5

    Austin Rory

  25. 4 out of 5

    Robert

  26. 5 out of 5

    Paula

  27. 4 out of 5

    Holly Isemonger

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jeff T.

  29. 5 out of 5

    MBP

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

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