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The Best American Poetry 2010 (Best American Poetry)

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  257 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews

AMY GERSTLER’S COMMITMENT TO INNOVATIVE POETRY that conveys meaning, feeling, wit, and humor informs the cross section of poems in the 2010 edition of The Best American Poetry. The works collected here represent the wealth, the breadth, and the tremendous energy of poetry in the United States today. Featuring poems from some of our country’s top bards, including John Ashbe
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 14th 2010 by Scribner (first published September 3rd 2010)
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Liz Mourant
Feb 01, 2012 Liz Mourant rated it it was ok
Finding an anthology which is decent, meaty, and not too reflective of the editor's biases so much as a sampling of the many and varied voices and styles available at this time is a hard hard thing to do. However the Norton Anthology of Poetry is a good bet anytime. These one off one year anthologies are hit and miss and I declare that this one is mostly miss. It is too esoteric, in-jokey, intent on portraying coolness under pressure or grace or you know what I mean if you read this which I hope ...more
May 20, 2015 Tristan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
While this did, as always, have a fair number of poems I did not like (I have come to realize I do not like James Richardson's "Vectors" series--at all), but the overwhelming majority were good. As an alphabetical anthology, continuity between pieces is pretty much nonexistent, but that is okay given the enormous number of great poems. This one really does live up to its title "best" in spite of its weak poems. I found some great pieces by "old friends"--James Schuyler, Billy Collins, Sharon Old ...more
Ben Pieper
Overall, I would give this collection a B average (technically an 86.2% avg.) as far as the quality of the poems contained. I know that attempting to quantify poetic effect/value is a ridiculous gesture, but I am simply a ridiculous person. Of course, this is purely based off of my own tastes and will not necessarily reflect your average satisfaction rate. I started a mission in October of 2016 to read the entire Best American Poetry series so that I can begin to get a better sense of A) what my ...more
Sep 21, 2010 Steve rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
First off, these are probably not the 75 “Best” poems from the last year. There’s just too much that gets missed. For example, my sense of it (and I could be wrong) is that the internet journals are way too underrepresented. Given the trends in publishing, one has to wonder just what the fate of some the major print literary journals will be. Electronic journals such as Jacket, Blackbird, and amazingly rich literary portals, such as Webdelsol (which has a whole array of wonderful e-zines), at th ...more
Tony Roberts
Jan 01, 2016 Tony Roberts rated it liked it
I confess I picked at this book like I used to pick the chicken out a pot pie. If a poem didn't taste good after a few lines, I spit it out.

In spite of this process, I found much meat to chew on in this collection. Mark Bibbins' fiery "The Devil You Don't." The sweet simplicity of Tom Clark's Fidelity." Michael Collier's psychcologically haunting "An Individual History," Elaine Equi's beautifully surreal "What is it About Hands?". The dialogue between optimism and apocalypse in Rodney Jones' "No
Feb 01, 2011 Rose rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I did not like this collection as much as I liked last year's (2009). There were poems by all the regulars (Carson, Walcott, Rich and Merwin among others, which I suppose goes with the territory. There were more prose poems than I usually like to see. Two of my favorites were Anne Carson's "Wildly Constant" (which I was not expecting to like as Anne Carson is usually too much for me) and Sandra Beasly's "Unit of Measure," which was fun, engaging and clever. I did not find myself drawn to finish ...more
Feb 26, 2014 Craig rated it it was ok
Operation "catch up with BAP" is nearly complete at long last.

Unfortunately, this was another volume that I found disappointing despite being a fan of the guest editor.

Very few pages folded over. Let's see... Favorites from Louise Gluck, B.H. Fairchild (big surprise), Dolly Lemke, Sarah Murphy, and J. Allyn Rosser.

Humor in poetry, for me, is hit or miss. I understand Gerstler's desire to have more humor in her volume, but most of the humor in this volume was a big miss by my sensibilities. I ima
Jan 15, 2017 Chris rated it really liked it
For me, this was one of the better BAP collections, as there were definitely more hits than misses here.

This one carried a wide-range of writers, with an extremely wide scope of topics and tones, from the downright hilarious to the utterly heartbreaking works.

It definitely leans more heavily on the image-driven and narrative style poems, which is why it resonated so well with me. So if that's not your type of poetry, than this collection might be less than stellar compared to past anthologies.
Feb 18, 2011 Luz rated it really liked it
We read The Grudge, A Walk In Victoria's Secret, and I never went to that movie at 12:45 in my Creative Writing class. We got to pick any piece off here or "The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2009" for a critical review. I ended up doing Carrying on like a Crow by Charles Simic because it was probably my favorite poem in this compilation. My other favorites include: The Grudge,Letter to the Past after Long Silence, What's Left, Namaskar, Oh dont, and Grave.

Overall I enjoyed it, and I loved re
May 20, 2011 SmarterLilac rated it really liked it
I wasn't too enthused about this one, having had the inexplicable feeling it might not be the best installment in this series. As usual, however, it drew me in. There's a lot to love in this very in-the-moment collection, including more than a few poems of real emotional resonance (which is what the Best American collections are most known for.) I was also surprised to find as many long poems in here as I did, which is something of a relief. At least there's one poetry forum in this world that i ...more
Melanie Faith
Oct 26, 2010 Melanie Faith rated it really liked it
While I've purchased several of the Best American Poetry annual anthologies, this year's captured my imagination. Each year there's a different guest editor, and perhaps it shouldn't surprise me that I enjoyed the chosen offerings this go-'round, as I just read Amy Gerstler's wonderfully quirky book of poems, Dearest Creature, a few weeks ago. There are more language experiments and prose poems than usual in this year's selections. My favorite selection so far is Gabriel Gooding's prose poem, "A ...more
Mar 03, 2013 John rated it really liked it
a couple of duds, but a pretty brilliant collection overall. Favorites:

"Wildly Constant" - Anne Carson
"Come in from the Rain" - Tim Dlugos
"This Poem Had Better Be about the World We Actually Live In" - David Clewell
"At the River"- Louise Glück
"And What, Friends, Is Called a Road?" - Gabriel Gudding
"Q" - Sharon Olds
"Their Faces Shall Be as Flames" - G.C. Waldrep
"Apologia" - Jill Alexander Essbaum
"Blue Yodel of Those Who Were Always Telling Me" - Frank Stanford
"The Perfect Faceless Fish"- Eil
Nov 04, 2011 Kevin rated it liked it
As expected, this was a mixed bag. Some made no sense, others seemed too narrow to warrant inclusion in a Best of series, and some I connected with.

Among my favorites were Sandra Beasley's "Unit of Measure", Jeffery McDaniel's "The Grudge", Camille Norton's "The Prison Diary of Bartlett Yancy Malone", Jeffrey Richardson's "Vector 2.3: Fifty Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays", David Trinidad's "Black Telephone", and Mark Wunderlich's "Coyote, with Mange".
Sep 10, 2010 Cornelio rated it it was amazing
Love it. Every year this annual anthology never fails to inspire, to touch, to think, make me hold my breath, let out a sigh, or just find myself still. It always demonstrates how alive poetry is, how powerful words are. And it's a book that will beg for re-reading, and it will just keelp getting better. Sure, there are poems I love more than others, but I always seem to take something for each of them. And that's something.
Tiffany Hickox
Mar 19, 2014 Tiffany Hickox rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
This is a splendid anthology of poetry from both established and emerging writers. I found myself highlighting and dog-earring my way through the entire book. Highly recommended for all fans of contemporary poetry, especially those who want a taste of what is being published in the literary journals but don't have the means to subscribe.
Jan 27, 2012 Rita rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
I think the huge range of experimental styles made this volume feel a bit disjointed, and after a while I ended up skipping a few, which is quite unlike me. Every now and then I found a gem and I'd think, "I wish there were more poems like *that* in here." I don't think most of these poems will leave a lasting impression on my literary landscape.
Steven Tomcavage
Jan 28, 2013 Steven Tomcavage rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
The quality of poetry anthologies largely depends on the choices of the editor. Amy Gerstler, the editor for The Best American Poetry 2010, obviously loves prose poetry, and if she has to choose verse, she goes for very wordy verse. These are not my favorite types of poetry, so I found this collection a bit tiresome, but if page after page of dense text is your thing, this might be for you.
Sep 09, 2011 Kayla rated it liked it
Shelves: school
I liked several of the poems in this book, but ultimately I looked at it the same way I do most contemporary poetry: "Huh?" I still prefer my "elders", like Yeats and Pound. Not a bad book, and definitely accessible to people who aren't poetry enthusiasts, but something I will likely be selling back to the bookstore at the end of the semester.
Dec 26, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it
Not a bad collection, though there were a few poems that I didn't care for (or I thought were too long). They feel like they are in a particular style. Perhaps it is just the format, but I feel like I am missing the context of a longer collection with many of these.
Oct 26, 2011 Deni rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, american
I've been trying to read all of the new poetry that we order at the library and so it was a pleasant surprise to discover that I was already familiar with several of these poems! Great validation that we've been picking some good titles.
Elizabeth Lee
May 14, 2011 Elizabeth Lee rated it it was ok
If this is the "best" poetry of 2010 that the editor(s) could find, I think perhaps they weren't looking very hard. There might even have been more prose in this than poetry, and I was unimpressed by most of what poetry there was. I probably won't be picking up another one of these collections.
Mar 22, 2011 Rynell rated it liked it
Poetry is very subjective. I read a lot of poetry and I wouldn't say that the poems in this book are the BEST of 2010. There are many great poems included, but I wouldn't say that they are the very best. Who can agree on the best anyway?
Oct 28, 2011 graham rated it liked it
Anthologies are so hard -- I loved some bits (Fleda Brown's "The Dead" is a standout), liked some others, disliked many and plain just didn't get a fair swath -- so I'll go middle of the road on this one.
Jun 20, 2016 Andie rated it really liked it
As with most anthologies, hit or miss. I found some of these poems incredibly insightful and poignant, tugging at my heartstrings - impelling me to write like I'm a poet. And others dropped me cold. But, that's the way of things, and I thought overall they were pretty good.
Amy Christine Lesher
Apr 19, 2016 Amy Christine Lesher rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Normally, I love the mix of poetry in the Best American series. In this edition though it was heavy in prose poetry, not something I particularly like. Really happy when I finished it and was able to put it back on the shelf.
Oct 25, 2011 Leah rated it it was ok
Amy Gerstler and I clearly disagree on what might have been the best poetry of 2010.
Feb 28, 2016 Ale rated it liked it
Some stellar poems. Some OK.
Jan 03, 2011 Tracie added it
It's my first Kindle book! Yay :)
Apr 30, 2013 Hannah rated it liked it
Some of the poems were really amazing, others I wondered why they were put in this anthology.
Feb 09, 2011 Liam rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
The Foreword and Intro were both good, the first few poems are intelligible to me. Overall this was a good collection I liked Tate's Depression and Yeager's litany of questions.
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Known for its wit and complexity, Amy Gerstler's poetry deals with themes such as redemption, suffering, and survival. Author of over a dozen poetry collections, two works of fiction, and various articles, reviews, and collaborations with visual artists, Gerstler won the 1991 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry for Bitter Angel (1990). Her early work, including White Marriage/Recovery (19 ...more
More about Amy Gerstler...

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