141st out of 177 books — 126 voters
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The Best American Poetry 2004 (Best American Poetry)
The Best American Poetry 2004 celebrates the vitality and richness of poetry in the United States and Canada today. Guest editor Lyn Hejinian, acclaimed for her own innovative writing, has chosen seventy-five important new poems and contributed a provocative introductory essay. Through her selections, Hejinian has created an essential nexus -- a meeting place for readers t...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 14th 2004 by Scribner
(first published 1990)
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I read all of these Best American Poetry books. I have to admit to being a bit bogged down in the current issue, however. Each year's volume is edited by a different poet as guest editor, and the overall quality of the book depends a lot on that person. I have to say that my tastes in poetry are often and generally at odds with those of this year's editor, Lyn Hejinian. This makes for slow going. Her concentration on experimental uses of language is admirable, but overwhelming. There are other v...more
As a high school teacher, I use the Best American Poetry volumes as sources for contemporary poetry to share with students. Some yield more fruit than others, but generally I find four or five poems in each that I can use in class. From that perspective, this volume is a bust, having perhaps one poem I could see bringing to teens. This collection left me completely unmoved, and I think is a good example of why poetry has gone from a mass cultural devotion to an exclusive, mannered club.
The best of a bad series, with the Robert Pinskys and Billy Collinses of the world still hogging their customary air space, while Lyn Hejinian does her damndest to break in some new underground acts. The next years' editions were business as usual. But we had 2004.