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The Best American Poetry 1998 Paperback – August 6, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: Best American Poetry
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1996- edition (August 6, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684814501
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684814506
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,346,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"True poetry has always striven for, and has in the last twenty years come to perfect, a nobility of expression that is of vital importance for our democratic esthetic, moral, and political culture." So writes John Hollander in the notably cheerful introduction to his selection of The Best American Poetry 1998. Highlights of the nobly constructed anthology include an excerpt from John Bricuth's forthcoming Just Let Me Say This About That, Thylias Moss's "The Right Empowerment of Light," John Koethe's "The Secret Amplitude" and Jacqueline Osherow's "La Leggenda della Vera Croce." As always in this David Lehman edited series, each poet contributes a short note on his or her anthologized poem. (Scribner, $14 352p ISBN 0-684-81450-1; $30 cloth 81453-6; Aug.) For a glimpse of the former state of the art, look no further than this fall's Encyclopedia of American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century. Edited by Eric L. Haralson (with Hollander as an advisory editor), the 115 entries in this biographical encyclopedia cover every poet included by Hollander in The Library of America's acclaimed American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century. Contributors to the encyclopedia include Angus Fletcher (on James Russell Lowell), Daniel Hoffman (on Poe and Stephen Crane) and Barbara Packer (on Joseph Rodman Drake). (Fitzroy Dearborn, $95 536p ISBN 1-57958-008-4; Sept.)
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Apollonian virtues?elegance, measure, constancy?abound in Hollander's 75 selections from last year's magazine verse. Like Harold Bloom, editor of The Best of the Best American Poetry 1988-1997 (LJ 4/1/98), Hollander also eschews, if more politely, the alleged excesses of postmodernism, and his exhibits offer evidence that the old prosodic practices of rhyme, pentameter, sonnet, and sestina are very much alive in the hands of both new (Craig Arnold) and familiar (Hecht, Walcott, Justice) practitioners. But while the technical skills displayed in individual pieces may inspire admiration, the collective tenor of this volume seems overly sedate, solemn, and, well, fussy. Long, static meditations alternate with shorter, scenic ones, and the sparing humor is usually of a droll sort. True, no single volume in this often exciting annual series has quite represented the full stylistic spectrum of American poetry, but Hollander's choice implies a partisanship as narrow (if oppositely so) as Adrienne Rich's controversial 1996 selection. Still, for readers who feel besieged by inscrutable poetic experiments, this installment will be a zephyr from Parnassus.?Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca, NY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By choiceweb0pen0 VINE VOICE on April 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you like Robert Bly, then you won't mind that he has chosen poems much like his style. If prose poems drive you to commit violent acts, then you should avoid most of this book. There is a variety of poems in quality, varying from trite, to excellent. It is a good starting place if you want to find new poets to read, but the poems represented may not be their best poetry.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gianmarco Manzione on May 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is simply the most superb installment in the series of Best American poetry anthologies. Robert Bly has chosen rich poems that are free of airs and stuffy language, cultivating the unmistakable flavor of American poetry. From newer names like the delightful Billy Collins to older legends such as Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Phil Levine and Robert Creely, The Best American Poetry of 1999 will have every reader finding something to love within its pages. All poetry lovers-particularly those who are tired of the so-called "language poets"-must give this book a try.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
Bloom's scathing, right-on-the-mark intro to 1997's Best of the Best seems to have breathed new life into this series. John Hollander has followed in the footsteps of Bloom by choosing poems that represent a wide range of styles, talents, and persuasions, but share one thing- poetic excellence. Though I'd like to see more selections from smaller presses, I'm delighted to have a book of 1998 poetry that doesn't advance a political agenda or look beyond the poems themselves to find meaning and value. Craig Arnold's "Hot" is worth the cover pirce alone- a poem that resonates, haunts, and changes on every re-reading. Selections by Ammons, Bly, Ashbery, and Strand show these masters at their finest. Bloom revitalized this once-sleepy series last year, and Hollander follows with a selection of poems that is even better than the Best of the Best. If you fear that we have lost our poetic magic in the late 20th century, this book will give you cause to reconsider.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed Robert Bly's introduction about 'the heat'. All genuine artists are aware of 'the heat' in some way or the other; Heat is what was to Ezra Pound his definition of 'image'. We can even trace 'the heat' back to the idea of catharsis in Aristotle's Poetics. The moments of knowing, human growth, liberation from certain limits are essential aspect of human being that is universal, and it is not confined by any gender or racial limits. This is particularly important because it removes oneself from the influence of multiculturalism and feminism which we hear so often. The anthology itself presents us with finest examples of 'the heat' by contemporary poets. Many thanks to Peggy Steele, Revan Schendler, Robert Creeley, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and everyone else in the anthology for their excellent works. It is nice to know that I can still find good poetry, even though it may be few.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Zane Ivy on July 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
I always enjoy reading volumes in this series. I even enjoyed reading Bloom's anthology, though I am fiery trajectory away from his strange reactionary stancecademic approach...
THIS volume, is subtle, a pleasant read...but alas, "safe." With some notable exceptions which I will not explicitly note here...the poems are warm milk before bed time, with a slightly pleasing taste of the fragrance of grass of this particular field, that particular pasture.
Safe is nice...and of course has a certain beauty.... With an anthology like those in this series however, I'd like a few showers of fish and frogs on my Spring morning walk...a few beautifully sharp briars scratching my shins...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
After Hollander's stilted, tiresome collection last year, Bly's choices are mostly a breath of fresh air. I'm never going to like all the poems in these books, but there's a truly appealing humanity to a lot of the work in this one, not surprising in a book edited by the author of "Counting Small-boned Bodies"...despite Bly's swerve into Iron Johnism of late, he's got pretty good taste.
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By Jason Hayashi on January 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed Robert Bly's introduction about 'the heat'. All genuine artists are aware of 'the heat' in some way or the other; Heat is what was to Ezra Pound his definition of 'image'. We can even trace 'the heat' back to the idea of catharsis in Aristotle's Poetics. The moments of knowing, human growth, liberation from certain limits are essential aspect of human being that is universal, and it is not confined by any gender or racial limits. This is particularly important because it removes oneself from the influence of multiculturalism and feminism which we hear so often. The anthology itself presents us with finest examples of 'the heat' by contemporary poets. Many thanks to Peggy Steele, Revan Schendler, Robert Creeley, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and everyone else in the anthology for their excellent works. It is nice to know that I can still find good poetry, even though it may be few.
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By A Customer on January 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I was excited by the first few poems in this collection because I admire formalism and precision in poetry. But I also admire life, surprise, human voices, and raw power in poetry, and the more I read of this collection, the more I felt the need to open a window for some air. Too many of these poems were left-brain exercises in language, but language as divorced from life. And the lengths! There wasn't a single long poem in this collection that I had any interest in continuing with after the first three pages, and to my dismay, many of these went on considerably beyond three pages. (One was at least 30 pages, or was I hallucinating?)
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