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The Best American Poetry 2011 (Best American Poetry)

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3.69  ·  Rating details ·  236 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
  The latest installment of the yearly anthology of contemporary American poetry that has achieved brand-name status in the literary world.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by Scribner
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Flannery
I thought for a long time about whether I wanted to review this or if I had the capacity to do so. I feel like there are hordes of poetry fans and critical readers who are waiting in the wings to tell me I’m an idiot and that I don’t understand poetry. Anthologies are always hit and miss for people--it’s near impossible to contain something meaningful to every reader but this collection had enough poems that truly hit it out of the park for me that I felt I should at least write something about ...more
Steve
Sep 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, e-books
Finished. I liked this year's effort slightly better than the last few, but not enough to bump it up a star. Part of the reason for this is that Young invests a lot of pages on long poems I didn't particularly like. As always, Series Editor, David Lehman, starts things off with a 10 page Forward to Kevin Young's 6 page Introduction. I've stopped reading Lehman's junk. I just find him a Look-At-Me windbag. Young's Intro sets the table, but a little misleadingly, mentioning the economic crisis -- ...more
Bryn Donovan
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I expected this to be one of the better volumes in the series because Kevin Young edited it. And OK, there were some very boring poems in here and a few trite ones, but there were enough terrific ones for me to give the collection 5 stars.

Patricia Smith's sonnet sequence, "Motown Crown," is fun to read and brilliantly crafted.

James Richardson's "Even More Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays from Vectors 3.0" and Rachel Wetzsteon's "Time Pieces" really inspired me. They are both big poems made up o
...more
Ben Pieper
Overall, I would give this collection a B average (technically an 86.1% 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
Tristan
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Like most "general" anthologies, this one was rather hit-or-miss. I found lots of poems I loved and a number of poems I found absolutely no worth in. There is typically little to no continuity in between adjacent poems, but this isn't really surprising given that the anthology is organized alphabetically by author's last name. As a "general" anthology, it was a success, bringing up some previously unknown names to watch for and introducing me to some very enjoyable individual poems.

Some of my fa
...more
Sunni
Oct 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Some powerful poems in this collection, along with several that made me wonder (along with some of my students) how these poets ever published a poem let alone got published in "The Best American Poetry." I realize editors' tastes differ from readers and that, even if one doesn't like a poem per se you can still find the craft in it, but there were a few that were so vapid and bizarre that neither the content nor the craft was engaging. Paul Muldoon, are you from outerspace? However, Sherman Ale ...more
Cheryl Gatling
I love these books. I have read most of them. People's tastes in poetry vary so widely that there will never be any consensus about what constitutes the "best." That's the advantage of having a different guest editor for each issue. Usually, if you like the work of the guest editor, you will like that editors picks. I do enjoy reading Kevin Young's work, so I found many of the poems in this anthology moving and/or memorable. They are, for the most part, what they call "accessible." I appreciate ...more
Mmars
Mar 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really appreciate what the annual Best American Poetry tries to do. One poet is given the honor/task of selecting poems published in various publications (books/journals) during the previous year. I have never read one from end to end, but have perused them, reading what I was interested in. I actually read this one just past halfway. I bowled my way through a couple selections, but thought most were accessible (i.e. not too post-modern.)

It could perhaps be argued that Young played it a little
...more
Abby
Apr 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
this is the second book I read of this series dating back to 1986 I believe.
and as a poetry lover, and an amateur poet it was absolutely mesmerizing.
it shows you the roams and extents of creativity and beauty modern poetry can be, it extends to endless topics and fields and as laid out in the most creative original ways, and it was a pleasure to read.
it is emotional it is unique and it is just a plain great experience especially for young poets such as my self to see the diversity at witch poetr
...more
Antonia
Nov 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
There are a few really wonderful poems here and a lot more that are not so wonderful -- and many that I'm sure many people would say, not even good. The catch, of course, is that what I think were the good ones may not be the ones you'd pick. Ain't it the truth? I seem to have a bias against long poems, so wouldn't even try to comment on them. Weirdly, I thought that most of the poems whose authors' last names begin with P were quite good (e.g., Pankey, Pierce, Pollitt, Pratt). Also liked Armant ...more
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Poetry Readers Ch...: Best American Poetry 2011 18 30 Nov 15, 2011 02:24AM  
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Kevin Young is an American poet heavily influenced by the poet Langston Hughes and the art of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Young graduated from Harvard College in 1992, was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University (1992-1994), and received his MFA from Brown University. While in Boston and Providence, he was part of the African-American poetry group, The Dark Room Collective.

Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, You
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