Synopses & Reviews
Mark Doty brings the vitality and imagination that illuminate his own work to his selections for the twenty-fifth volume in the Best American Poetry
series. He has chosen poems of high moral earnestness and poems in a comic register; poems that tell stories and poems that test the boundaries of innovative composition. This landmark edition includes David Lehman’s keen look at American poetry in his foreword, Mark Doty’s gorgeous introduction, and notes from the poets revealing the germination of their work. Over the last twenty-five years, The Best American Poetry
has become an annual rite of the poetry world, and this year’s anthology is a welcome and essential addition to the series.
SHERMAN ALEXIE * KAREN LEONA ANDERSON * RAE ARMANTROUT * JULIANNA BAGGOTT * DAVID BAKER * RICK BAROTt REGINALD DWAYNE BETTS * FRANK BIDART * BRUCE BOND * STEPHANIE BROWN * ANNE CARSON * JENNIFER CHANG * JOSEPH CHAPMAN * HEATHER CHRISTLE * HENRI COLE * BILLY COLLINS * PETER COOLEY * EDUARDO C. CORRAL * ERICA DAWSON * STEPHEN DUNN * ELAINE EQUI * ROBERT GIBB * KATHLEEN GRABER * AMY GLYNN GREACEN * JAMES ALLEN HALL * TERRANCE HAYES * STEVEN HEIGHTON * BRENDA HILLMAN * JANE HIRSHFIELD * RICHARD HOWARD * MARIE HOWE * AMORAK HUEY * JENNY JOHNSON * LAWRENCE JOSEPH * FADY JOUDAH * JOY KATZ * JAMES KIMBRELL * NOELLE KOCOT * MAXINE KUMIN * SARAH LINDSAY * AMIT MAJMUDAR * DAVID MASON * KERRIN McCADDEN * HONOR MOORE * MICHAEL MORSE * CAROL MUSKE-DUKES * ANGELO NIKOLOPOULOS * MARY OLIVER * STEVE ORLEN * ALICIA OSTRIKER * ERIC PANKEY * LUCIA PERILLO * ROBERT PINSKY * DEAN RADER * SPENCER REECE * PAISLEY REKDAL * MARY RUEFLE * DON RUSS * KAY RYAN * MARY JO SALTER * LYNNE SHARON SCHWARTZ * FREDERICK SEIDEL * BRENDA SHAUGHNESSY * PETER JAY SHIPPY * TRACY K. SMITH * BRUCE SNIDER * MARK STRAND * LARISSA SZPORLUK * DANIEL TOBIN * NATASHA TRETHEWEY * SUSAN WHEELER * FRANZ WRIGHT * DAVID YEZZI * DEAN YOUNG * KEVIN YOUNG
"Now in its 25th year, the Best American Poetry anthologies have become something of a yearbook for American versifiers. The 2012 volume runs the gamut of styles and positions, from the experimentally mixed registers of Rae Armantrout ('Information describing the fading laser pulse// is stored// is encoded// in the spine states/ of atoms') to the unrelenting intensity of Frank Bidart ('the burning// fountain is the imagination// within us that ingests and by its/ devouring generates// what is most antithetical to itself') to an extended meditation on art and family by Paisley Rekdal: 'Here is the killer with his handsome face./ Here is Manson, Bundy, Hitler,/ the Terror's row of heads still spiked on stakes.' Doty, this year's guest editor, is a populist at heart, who believes poetry is available and useful to all who are willing to seek it out, and so he has chosen poems that take the national pulse in the midst of a tensed political moment (Joy Katz looks to the 'Department of Trance/ Department of Dream of Levitation/ Department of White Fathom' for answers) and also look mysteriously inward at a timeless human core as only poetry can: 'I keep my distance like the tines/ Of a fork from one another,// Dressing, undressing the fabulous wounds,' writes Noelle Kocot. As usual, there is something for everyone; this is a particularly good volume in this series. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Edited this year by acclaimed poet and writer Mark Doty, the foremost annual anthology of contemporary American poetry returns.
Over the last twenty-five years, the Best American Poetry series has become a mainstay in the poetry world and beyond. An eagerly awaited yearly event, it is an essential guide to contemporary American verse and the poets who define it.
The poems appearing in the 2012 edition of The Best American Poetry have been chosen by National Book Award-winning poet Mark Doty with his customary care, intelligence, and passion for the art.
Stanley Kunitz said, “With his clarity of vision and great heart, Doty stands as an emblematic and shining presence.” The vitality, imagination, and compassion that have illuminated Doty’s own work are reflected in his selections for this year’s anthology. In it are poems of high moral earnestness and poems in a comic register; poems in venerable forms and poems that test the boundaries of innovative composition; poems by eminences and by virtual unknowns.
And as always, the anthology opens with David Lehman’s incisive look at the current state of 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.Mark Doty's books of poetry and nonfiction prose have been honored with numerous distinctions, including the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Martha Albrand Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and, in the United Kingdom, the T. S. Eliot Prize. In 2008, he won the National Book Award for Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems. He is a professor at the University of Houston, and he lives in New York City.