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The Best of the Best American Poetry

The Best of the Best American Poetry


Edited by: David Lehman
Every year since 1988 a major poet has selected seventy-five poems for publication in The Best American Poetry. The series has quickly grown in both sales and prestige, as poetry itself has seen a remarkable resurgence in popularity and vitality, fueled by established poets at the peak of their powers and a new generation of daring voices. As we approach the millennium, now is the opportune moment to take stock of american poetry and choose the work that will stand the test of time. Harold Bloom, a commanding presence on the American literary state, has read all 750 poems in the series and has picked the "best of the best." He precedes his selections with a compelling and highly provocative essay on the state of American letters, in which he fiercely champions the endangered realm of the aesthetic over the politically correct. Diverse in style, method, and metaphor, the seventy-five poems Bloom has chosen go a long way toward defining a contemporary canon of American poetry. This exciting volume reflects not only the taste of the current editor, but the predilections of the all-star list of poets who have contributed their time and intellect to make this series what is today: a "valuable, invaluable, supervaluable" (Beloit Poetry Journal) record of an ever-changing, always exciting art.
Choose a format:
  • Scribner | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439106068 | 
  • June 2008
List Price $16.99

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1


Dance Mania

In 1027, not far from Bernburg,

eighteen peasants were seized

by a common delusion.

Holding hands, they circled for hours

in a churchyard, haunted by visions,

spirits whose names they called in terror or welcome,

until an angry priest cast a spell on them

for disrupting his Christmas service,

and they sank into the frozen earth

up to their knees. In 1227

on a road to Darmstadt, scores of children

danced and jumped in a shared delirium.

Some saw devils, others the Savior enthrone
in the... see more


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