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Best of the Best American Poetry

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  206 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Robert Pinsky, distinguished poet and man of letters, selects the top 100 poems from twenty-five years of The Best American Poetry

THIS SPECIAL EDITION CELEBRATES twenty-five years of the Best American Poetry series, which has become an institution. The Best American Poetry is the most prestigious poetry publication in the United States and has been so almost from its
Hardcover, 25th Anniversary Edition, 352 pages
Published April 9th 2013 by Scribner (first published June 19th 2008)
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I'll admit upfront that I usually have bad luck with "Best of..." books, especially the annual ones put out not only for poetry but for short stories, essays, sports writing, etc. That said, Pinsky's picks for best of the best from the last 25 years of "Bests" was not bad, overall. A lot of familiar faces in the crowd. I skipped a few poems that were 4+ pages if they didn't hold me in the initial going because, if you're name's not "Homer," chances are your long poem isn't going to hold my ...more
Peycho Kanev
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Country Fair

If you didnt see the six-legged dog,
It doesnt matter.
We did, and he mostly lay in the corner.
As for the extra legs,

One got used to them quickly
And thought of other things.
Like, what a cold, dark night
To be out at the fair.

Then the keeper threw a stick
And the dog went after it
On four legs, the other two flapping behind,
Which made one girl shriek with laughter.

She was drunk and so was the man
Who kept kissing her neck.
The dog got the stick and looked back at us.
And that was the whole
May 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
I was very disappointed by this collection, especially considering Robert Pinsky's name was attached to it.

As a big fan of this series, (I've read all but the '89, '90 and '91 volumes) I can say that its selections are usually excellent. Truly some of the best American poetry I've ever read; the '92 installment has the distinction of being the one that inspired me to start writing poetry seriously at age 13. These books have always been a rich blend of astonishing talent. They have also always
Joan Colby
Dec 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A well named collection. These poems that have appeared over a 25 year period in the Best American Poetry anthologies truly represent the foremost poets with outstanding examples of their work. While I borrowed this book from the library, I liked it so much I intend to buy it.
Lisa Mooney
Oct 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good overview of the 25 years of this anthology. Loved some pieces, liked others, hated a few - just like always.
Kenton Yee
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love the Best American Poetry series and have relied on it to sample a broad swath of contemporary American poetry. I'm grateful for the exposure to the work of poets as divergent as Lynn Hejikian, James Tate, A.R. Ammons, Paul Violi, and Billy Collins. Where else would I read Collins' delightful dog ode Dharma and an excerpt of Ammon's infinite Garbage within 30 pages (though Dharma is not Collins' best doggie poem)? Through BAP, I initially encountered several now-favorite poets of mine I ...more
Adam Roll
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I could use this to write about the sad state of American Poetry, in that it has learned so little from hip hop and rock and roll, but it seems like these are not big music fans, poets in general are looking for some silent time that never seems to present itself to me. Or I could direct you to my poetry, the best answer I have for what I think poetry should look like. Are all poetry fans also poets? Possibly. But this just makes us all more opinionated and difficult. Anne Winters made this ...more
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. I ordered this book for a Christmas read for my book group. I read it in order to choose poems that would be accessible for readers who don't ordinarily read poetry, and was able to find a number of poems that fit the bill. It's a fine collection, garnered from The Best American Poetry annual series from the first 25 years of its publication, and Pinsky made some great choices. There are a few poems that didn't do much for me, hence the 1/2 star docking. All in all a worthy ...more
Hendrick Mcdonald
A Nice Collection

A nice collection of poems, from slice of life to the absurd to the slightly political. A good collection here.
Daniel W. Polk
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My favorite poem from this collection was "This Pleasing Anxious Being," by Richard Wilbur.
Michael Smith
Aug 25, 2013 rated it really liked it

Ive never reviewed a volume of poetry before and I dont have the technical vocabulary to say anything about a poems formal qualities. I have been known, however, at the drop of a hat to recite Blakes London, Lewis Carrolls Jabberwocky, You, Andrew Marvell by Archibald MacLeish, To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell, the first part of Alfred Noyes The Highwayman (I cant remember the second part), a couple of Shakespeares sonnets, some poems without names by Auden, Ferlinghetti, e.e. cummings
Dec 28, 2016 rated it liked it
A stacked cast. Read out-of-order on most occasions. Everything will be fine. 3.5*
Billie Pritchett
Mar 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I liked reading Best of the Best American Poetry but not all of the poems were touching to me. Some that were, though, were the following.
- Stephen Dobyns, "Desire"
- Denise Duhamel, "How It Will End"
- Carol Muske-Dukes, "Hate Mail"
- Stephen Dunn, "The Imagined"
- John Hollander, "The See-Saw"
- W.S. Merwin, "The Stranger"
- Charles Simic, "Country Fair"
- A.E. Stallings, "Asphodel"
- Franz Wright, "A Happy Thought"
- Kevin Young, "Lime Light Blues"
Here are a few that stood out to me. Dobyns' "Desire"
Dec 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Nice to visit some old friends and to encounter a few good poems from the years before I started collecting the Best American Poetry series as an annual ritual. I am surprised to find that I overall prefer the poems of the last decade to poems of the 1990s, although I shouldn't be: I disliked most of the contemporary poetry I read during the 1990s, whereas I like most of the contemporary poetry I read now. I just assumed that what had changed was me, since in the 1990s I was a bratty teenager. ...more
Jul 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable and admirable collection of poetry. I removed one star because there isn't a single wild card in the book (these poets have been canonized, each in his or her own way), it's trendy and lacks cultural diversity, and a number of the poems are taken from the 'Best of' anthologies of the last two years. I just read them!

from "Wakefulness," by John Ashbery

A kindly gnome of fear
perched on my dashboard once, but we had all been instructed
to ignore the conditions of the chase. Here, it
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
I've been trying to read more poetry and I think I've been successful with including more of it in my repertoire. I usually like anthologies such as these because of the potential to become acquainted with new poets.

I picked this up because it had several poets whose work I have previously enjoyed (Mark Doty, Edward Hirsch, Tony Hoagland) and others who I wanted to try. Unfortunately, I failed to connect with or even understand most of these poems. Most seemed rambling and I couldn't grasp the
Aseem Kaul
Nov 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry-anthology
It's not that the poems in this selection are bad; on the contrary, they are, for the most part, very good. It's just that for a book that purports to collect the best American poems for the last twenty five years they should be so much better. The problem, I think, is that Pinsky, in making his selection, has gone with the most conventional choices, making these not the best american poems of the last quarter century but the safest.
Kate S
Jul 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
I am not a huge fan of reading poetry. There were a few gems in this collection, however. I enjoyed Ginsberg's offering of "Salutations to Fernando Pessoa", Michael Palmer's "I Do Not" and Jane Hirshfield's "In Praise of Coldness". There were a few others I enjoyed, but these were my favorite of them. I will be taking a little break from poetry now.
Aug 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: y-2013, poetry
"... Some piece of you /stays in me and I will never give it back." From No forgiveness Ode by Dean Young, pg 244

"I am in anger / encouragement class." From Lime Light Blues by Kevin Young, pg 245

Oct 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I've not read the entire book, but I greatly enjoyed a number of the poems I did read The Return by Levine was particularly nice.
Nov 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
So many good poems here! It was a little overwhelming.
Apr 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
A decent collection, but only about 5 of these poems really touched me.
Gage Wente
Feb 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Conservative poetics and a lot of post-Beat styles. Good, but a little heady, and with nothing in the contemporary style.
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Mike Hammer
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Robert Costic
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Robert Pinsky is an American poet, essayist, literary critic, and translator. From 1997 to 2000, he served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. Pinsky is the author of nineteen books, most of which are collections of his own poetry. His published work also includes critically acclaimed translations, including The Inferno of Dante Alighieri and The Separate Notebooks by ...more

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