Synopses & Reviews
Billy Collins, one of our most beloved poets, has chosen poems of wit, humor, imagination, and surprise, in a range of styles and forms, for The Best American Poetry 2006
. The result is a celebration of the pleasures of poetry.
In his charming and candid introduction Collins explains how he chose seventy-five poems from among the thousands he considered. With insightful comments from the poets illuminating their work, and series editor David Lehman's thought-provoking foreword, The Best American Poetry 2006 is a brilliant addition to a series that links the most noteworthy verse and prose poems of our time to a readership as discerning as it is devoted to the art of poetry.
"In the 19th installment of this annual series, former poet laureate Collins (The Trouble with Poetry, 2005), one of America's most popular poets ever, has culled the typical handful of big names and some surprising new voices from more than 50 American literary publications. Collins's predilections for accessibility, humor and tidy forms are evident, but there are also surprises. Usual suspects former Best American editors Ashbery (who surprises with a poem in neatly rhymed couplets), Hass, Simic, Tate and Muldoon, as well as Mary Oliver meet rising masters like Kay Ryan ('A bird's/ worth of weight/ or one bird-weight/ of Wordsworth'), Vijay Seshadri and Franz Wright. Most interesting, however, is the chance each volume offers to see which up-and-comers make the cut. This year's roster includes edgy poems by Joy Katz, Danielle Pafunda ('my hair cramped with sexy'), Terrance Hayes, and Christian Hawkey ('O my/ beloved shovel-nosed mole'), among others. Collins's surprising and opinionated introduction in which he admits that, unlike some of series editor David Lehman's previous guest editors, 'the designation 'best' doesn't bother me,' and offers his definition of a good poem (often one that 'starts in the factual' and displays 'a tone of playful irreverence') may cause some controversy. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Each year, a vivid snapshot of what a distinguished poet finds exciting, fresh and memorable: and over the years, as good a comprehensive overview of contemporary poetry as there can be." -- Robert Pinsky
One of the most popular poets since Robert Frost, former Poet Laureate Billy Collins guest edits the 2006 edition of the lauded annual anthology of contemporary American poetry.
About the Author
David Lehman, series editor of The Best American Poetry, is also the editor of The Oxford Book of American Poetry. His books of poetry include New and Selected Poems, When a Woman Loves a Man, and The Daily Mirror. He teaches in the New School graduate writing program and lives in New York City and Ithaca, New York.Billy Collins is the award-winning author of The Trouble with Poetry, Nine Horses, Sailing Alone Around the Room, and Picnic, Lightning, among other poetry collections. He has edited the anthologies Poetry 180 and 180 More. He is a distinguished professor of English at Lehman College, City University of New York, where he has taught for the past thirty years. From 2001 to 2003 he served as the Poet Laureate of the United States.
Table of Contents
Foreword by David Lehman
Introduction by Billy Collins
Kim Addonizio, "Verities"
Dick Allen, "'See the Pyramids Along the Nile'"
Craig Arnold, from "Couple from Hell"
John Ashbery, "A Worldly Country"
Jesse Ball, "Speech in a Chamber"
Krista Benjamin, "Letter from My Ancestors"
Ilya Bernstein, "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby"
Gaylord Brewer, "Apologia to the Blue Tit"
Tom Christopher, "Rhetorical Figures"
Laura Cronk, "Sestina for the Newly Married"
Carl Dennis, "Our Generation"
Stephen Dobyns, "Toward Some Bright Moment"
Denise Duhamel, "'Please Don't Sit Like a Frog, Sit Like a Queen'"
Stephen Dunn, "The Land of Is"
Beth Ann Fennelly, "Souvenir"
Megan Gannon, "List of First Lines"
Amy Gerstler, "For My Niece Sidney, Age Six"
Sarah Gorham, "Bust of a Young Boy in the Snow"
George Green, "The Death of Winckelmann"
Debora Greger, "My First Mermaid"
Eamon Grennan, "The Curve"
Daniel Gutstein, "Monsieur Pierre est mort"
R. S. Gwynn, from "Sects from A to Z"
Rachel Hadas, "Bird, Weasel, Fountain"
Mark Halliday, "Refusal to Notice Beautiful Women"
Jim Harrison, "On the Way to the Doctor's"
Robert Hass, "The Problem of Describing Color"
Christian Hawkey, "Hour"
Terrance Hayes, "Talk"
Bob Hicok, "My career as a director"
Katia Kapovich, "The Ferry"
Laura Kasischke, "At Gettysburg"
Joy Katz, "Just a second ago"
David Kirby, "Seventeen Ways from Tuesday"
Jennifer L. Knox, "The Laws of Probability in Levittown"
Ron Koertge, "Found"
John Koethe, "Sally's Hair"
Mark Kraushaar, "Tonight"
Julie Larios, "Double Abecedarian: Please Give Me"
Dorianne Laux, "Demographic"
Reb Livingston, "That's Not Butter"
Thomas Lux, "Eyes Scooped Out and Replaced by Hot Coals"
Paul Muldoon, "Blenheim"
Marilyn Nelson, "Albert Hinckley"
Richard Newman, "Briefcase of Sorrow"
Mary Oliver, "The Poet with His Face in His Hands"
Danielle Pafunda, "Small Town Rocker"
Mark Pawlak, "The Sharper the Berry"
Bao Phi, "Race"
Donald Platt, "Two Poets Meet"
Lawrence Raab, "The Great Poem"
Betsy Retallack, "Roadside Special"
Liz Rosenberg, "The Other Woman's Point of View"
J. Allyn Rosser, "Discounting Lynn"
Kay Ryan, "Thin"
Mary Jo Salter, "A Phone Call to the Future"
Vijay Seshadri, "Memoir"
Alan Shapiro, "Misjudged Fly Ball"
Charles Simic, "House of Cards"
Gerald Stern, "Homesick"
James Tate, "The Loser"
Sue Ellen Thompson, "Body English"
Tony Towle, "Misprision"
Alison Townsend, "What I Never Told You About the Abortion"
Paul Violi, "Counterman"
Ellen Bryant Voigt, "Harvesting the Cows"
David Wagoner, "The Driver"
Charles Harper Webb, "Prayer to Tear the Sperm-Dam Down"
C. K. Williams, "Ponies"
Terence Winch, "Sex Elegy"
Susan Wood, "Gratification"
Franz Wright, "A Happy Thought"
Robert Wrigley, "Religion"
David Yezzi, "The Call"
Dean Young, "Clam Ode"
Contributors' Notes and Comments
Magazines Where the Poems Were First Published