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The Best American Poetry 2012: Series Editor David Lehman Paperback – September 18, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: Best American Poetry
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Original edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439181527
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439181522
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

As series editor Lehman notes, anthology means, most literally, “a collection of flowers.” In which case, this year’s Best American Poetry, curated by National Book Award–winner Doty (Fire to Fire, 2008), must surely be an arrangement of white roses or sympathy lilies, so occupied are the selections with death and the dead and dying. Maxine Kumin (“Either Or”) contemplates Socrates’ assignment of a clear-cut binary to the afterlife. For Robert Gibb (“Spirit in the Dark”), the metaphysical is but a strange feeling shared between friends. But not every poem is of death. Terrance Hayes (“The Rose Has Teeth”) reminds us with chilling elegance just how hair-raising piano practice can be. Doty includes other poets without whom any “best” collection would seem incomplete, such as Billy Collins, Jane Hirschfield, and Mary Jo Salter, as well as newcomers, including Angelo Nikolopoulos (“Daffodil”) and Eduardo C. Corral (“To the Angelbeast”). As always in the series, the contributors’ notes and comments occupy a good fifth of the page-count and create context for the poets’ works. --Diego Báez

Review

"The foremost annual anthology of contemporary American poetry returns." -Publishers Weekly --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

Good poems from a broad array of eclectic poets.
James M. Robinson
I can honestly say there was not ONE poem which I actually liked in this entire, fairly plump volume.
Elizabeth Mourant
This wonderful book has some of the best poets in contemporary American poetry.
R. A. McCranie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jon Corelis on January 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
The title, of course, makes a claim. What's depressing about this book is that the claim may well have some validity: this collection of polished, generally competent, too often lackluster and conventional (though with a few interesting experiments in innovative diction or form), and almost totally academic verse, may well be the best that American poetry is currently capable of. Or at least, establishment American poetry. For this is very definitely an anthology of establishment poetry, that is, the poetry that is coming out of college and university creative writing programs. The biographical notes on the seventy five poets selected indicate that, by my count, at least three out of four of them are college or university teachers, almost always in Creative Writing or English; most of the rest don't list a profession, and I suspect that many of these also teach but are understandably embarrassed to admit it (Oh no, not another one!), so that the academic presence is probably more like ninety percent.

It's unsurprising, then, that the poems included are disproportionately drawn from the "right" establishment journals, the ones everyone in the academy wants to get on their resumes: again by my count, well over half the poems are from the six journals Poetry, The Cincinnati Review, The New Yorker, The New England Review, The American Poetry Review, and Ploughshares. And it's equally unsurprising that most of them read like creative writing seminar exercises.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 14, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mark Doty, guest editor of this collection and one of my favorite writers, says in his introduction that he could just as easily have called it SEVENTY-FIVE POEMS MARK LIKES. My reaction to several of these poems is the same as I have of Mr. Doty`s. I sometimes do not understand them so it comes as no surprise to me that these are poems he has selected. (I should say, however, that I love almost every book of nonfiction Mr. Doty has published.) On the other hand, Reynolds Price, who I`m certain never graduated last in his class has said, in discussing a particular Wallace Stevens poem he found incomprehensible, that to appreciate a poem, you have to understand what it is about and that it is possible to give a prose statement of any good poem. I couldn`t agree more. And furthermore, a poem that speaks to me is one that I either send to a friend or call up and read to them: "Can you believe how beautiful this poem is?" Just like some but not all of Mr. Doty's poems-- two come to mind immediately: he has written a gorgeous poem about a community choir rehearsing for a performance of Handel's "Messiah" and another of someone painting an apartment while listening to a Handel opera if my memory does not fail me-- some of these are those I read to friends.

I particularly liked Billy Collins' "Delivery" where the delivery truck brings news of the narrator's death-- many of these poems deal with death, but then Mr. Collins has said that that is what most poems are about-- "The Gods" by Mary Jo Salter, "Dr. Samuel Adolphus Cartwright on Dissecting the White Negro, 1851" by Natasha Trethewey and "Expecting" by Kevin Young. The poem that is worth the price of this anthology, however, has to be "The Afterlife" by Lynne Sharon Schwartz. I heard Mr.
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By JoAnn Anglin on May 28, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Somehow I missed this when it came out. So glad to have a source for this always useful and enjoyable collection.
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By Gregory E. Lucas on March 15, 2014
Format: Paperback
About 1/3 of these poems were wonderful. 1/3 made no sense or very little sense to me. 1/3 I understood fine, but I thought were lousy poems and I have no idea how they ever got published anywhere to begin with and I have zero idea how anyone could think that they're among the best.

My favorite poems in this book are these: "Mrs. Mason and the Poets" by David Mason; "The Gods" by Mary Jo Salter; and "Daffodil" by Angelo Nikolopoulos.

I have very conventional tastes. Some of my favorite poets are Robert Frost, Dylan Thomas, Robert Browning, Robert Graves, Wordsworth, Housman, and Keats. In general, I like metrical verse. Too many of the poems in this book were prose-like. Many of the poems seemed disjointed or they had no dramatic/emotional impact. One thing that really stood out to me was how unmusical so much of the poetry was. The music within poems is one of the things I like most about poetry. But there are some wonderful poems in this book that did click with me.
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By Cassandra on March 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Generally I love American poetry but was a litle disappointed in this anthology; too much 'trying to be clever' stuff. Some poems I enjoyed, especially Middle Schol; and why use so much space at the end of the book with details of the poets. We read poetry, we enjoy or not, on whatever level. Do we have to read so much of the poets' particulars? One goes to readings and sometimes the introductory preambles about the successes of the poets makes one want to walk out. We haven't come to hear all that. We want to be nourished with words: one prose piece by Mary Oliver and no entry by Sharon Olds
. Cassandra.
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