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The Best American Poetry
Welcome to The Best American Poetry blog. We launched this blog in January, 2008, to create a place where we and friends can exchange, discuss, and argue about poems and poetry. We soon discovered that it would be even more fun to post about anything that fuels our passions, be it movies or sex or baseball or ballet or cocktails or finance or music, because these are, after all, the same subjects that generate poems. Then we flung the doors open and invited others to join in. And we decided that contributors to the blog need not be poets as long as they share a love of good writing and poetry. The only things we ask our regular and guest bloggers to avoid are personal attacks. You'll find enough of that stuff elsewhere. We celebrate freedom of expression. The opinionS of our contributors are their own and not necessarily those of the blog's editorial team or of other contributors. We welcome comments as long as they keep within the bounds of civil discourse. Our roster of correspondents is always changing. We are large! We contain multitudes! Please visit often.Our roster of correspondents is always changing. We are large! We contain multitudes! Please visit often.
Interests: music, food, finance, cocktails, movies, baseball, sex, poetry, mad men.
Recent Activity
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(Ed note: Lisa's father is very much with us this week so I thought I would bring back this post from 2009.-- sdh) L-R: Illia Mazurek, Lisa Vihos, Georg Vihos (Photo by Stephan Mazurek) I met Lisa Vihos when David and I visited Lakeland College in Wisconsin last October. We were in a workshop together and I loved her poems. Later we talked about food and cooking and I was thrilled when she agreed to contribute a recipe. Lisa's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Free Verse, Lakefire, Wisconson People and Ideas, Seems, and Big Muddy. She loves to... Continue reading
Posted 6 hours ago at The Best American Poetry
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This just in: Terrance Hayes, guest editor of the Best American Poetry 2014, has been named a MacArthur fellow. By Michael A. Fuoco / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Terrance Hayes, a nationally renowned poet and a University of Pittsburgh writing professor, was in a Highland Park coffee shop a little more than a week ago when he got the call of a lifetime. Stunned, he turned to his wife, Yona Harvey, likewise a poet and Pitt professor, and shared the incredible news — he had been named one of 21 recipients of the prestigious MacArthur fellowships awarded to individuals “who show exceptional... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at The Best American Poetry
It is hard to believe that six years have passed since the day Lehman’s employees emptied their desks into banker’s boxes and triggered the Great Recession the worst threat to our banking system since the runs on banks in 1933, the worst crisis of credit and confidence with bad debts, loans irresponsibly made, credit swaps, the use of derivatives so complicated it makes options trading look like checkers in Fort Tryon Park, and on this unhappy anniversary you may wonder whether mind-sets have changed in risk management? I look around and see a lot of highly-leveraged balance sheets, and as... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at The Best American Poetry
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Lisa Vihos' poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Big Muddy, Forge, Main Street Rag, Red Cedar, Red Fez, Seems, The Camel Saloon, Verse Wisconsin, and Wisconsin People and Ideas.Her poems appear in two anthologies,Villanelles (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets) and Echolocations (Cowfeather Press) and she has published two chapbooks,A Brief History of Mail(Pebblebrook Press) andThe Accidental PresentShe has twice been nominated for a Pushcart prize and has had two previous stints as guest blogger here. By day she is a grant writer at Lakeland College in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Lisa is the poetry and arts editor for Stoneboat literary journal, an... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at The Best American Poetry
(Ed note: When Erin inteviewed Mark Bibbins, he asked her to include one of her own poems. This was not to be so here is a Motionpoems video of Erin's terrific "When at a Certain Party in NYC" which first appeared in 32 Poems and which Kevin Young picked for The Best American Poetry 2011. --sdh) Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at The Best American Poetry
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So I took this photo the first time I met Erin. It was shortly after I had moved to New York City and I was quite nervous. We were at David's Greenwich Village apartment, about to go to Quantum Leap for lunch. Erin let me try on her gloves, which were made out of Polar Fleece and lined with Thinsulate. They were extremely warm and confirmed that Erin was up on the latest in cold weather fashion. In case you're wondering about the title of this post, for some reason this song popped into my head so I went with... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at The Best American Poetry
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The American Scholar's Next Line, Please contest continues with a crowd-sourced five-line acrostic poem. Here's how David Lehman introduced the contest: We are going to write an acrostic based on an epigraph. The poem will have five lines when complete. The first letters of the lines, read vertically, shall spell out “Waldo,” the middle name of the man who wrote the essay from which this distinguished journal takes it name. That’s the acrostic part. The poem’s epigraph is from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance”: “I would write on the lintels of the door-post, Whim.” Lehman invited readers to submit a line... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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Beginning tomorrow, Alan Zeigler will join us as a regular contributor. Alan's posts earlier this year were quite popular so we are delighted that he has agreed to return. He is the editor of Short: An International Anthology of 500 Years of Short-Short Stories, Prose Poems, Brief Essays, and Other Short Prose Forms (Persea Books); his other books include Love At First Sight: An Alan Ziegler Reader; The Swan Song of Vaudeville: Tales and Takes (with an introduction by Richard Howard); The Green Grass of Flatbush (winner of the Word Beat Fiction Book Award, selected by George Plimpton); So Much... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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On September 3rd, a full house of eager poets, professors, students, and friends gathered at The New School for the season’s first poetry forum, featuring Edward Hirsch, poet, critic, anthologist, and president of the Guggenheim Foundation. Hirsch and moderator David Lehman spoke like old friends, for over an hour, without missing a beat between questions and comments. Lehman began by asking Hirsch to read the poem with which he opens his recent anthology A Poet’s Glossary (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014). It is a love poem, to poetry: “I have loved you my entire life” Hirsch writes. “Without even knowing what... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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(Ed note: The Inquisitive Eater is one website I visit often. It publishes a brilliant mix of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, visual art, news. This piece recently captured my attention and I contiue to return to it so it seemed worthwhile to share it here. sdh) Consider the Lobster. © Anna Cypra Oliver 2014. Oil on canvas 18″x20″. Haut-cuisine extravaganzas like Plaza-Athéneé Lobster Soufflé are not usually my thing, either as a diner or as a cook—too rich, too fattening, too much of a production—but when my neighbor Stan and I attempted to make it one New Year’s Day and failed,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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This week we welcome Erin Belieu as our guest author. Erin is the author of four poetry collections published by Copper Canyon Press, including Infanta, One Above & One Below, Black Box, and the forthcoming Slant Six, due in early November. She has been selected for the National Poetry Series, Bread Loaf and Sewanee conference fellowships, the Rona Jaffe Foundation award, the Ohioana Book Award, and the Midlands Author Award, and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her work has appeared in places such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Ploughshares, Slate,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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In honor of Sports Illustrated's 60th anniversary, SI.com is republishing, in full, 60 of the best stories ever to run in the magazine's history. Today's selection is on Sandy Koufax, whom the magazine named its favorite athlete of the 20th century. Koufax, the youngest person elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame, was the first pitcher to throw four no-hitters and win three Cy Young Awards. The story, by current SI writer Tom Verducci, originally appeared in the July 12, 1999 issue <<< He sat in the same booth every time. It was always the one in back, farthest from... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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Ed note: We're taking a much needed break to enjoy the remaining days of summer. We'll be back on September 8th. Meanwhile, we hope to see you at these events: An Evening with Edward Hirsch. Wednesday, September 3, 2014 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM. 66 W 12th Street Room A510 New York, NY 10011 Edward Hirsch is the author of, most recently, A Poet’s Glossary (Houghton Mifflin, 2014) and Gabriel: A Poem (Knopf, 2014). His first collection of poems, For the Sleepwalkers, was published in 1981 and went on to receive the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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Greenery, Atlantic Center for the Arts Three years ago, I moved the contents of my house into a storage unit, and left to live and write in a number of places I’d never been before. Since then, I’ve moved 20 times. Now I’m in residence for two months at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains which I see out my studio window. A blue haze created by the breathing of trees. Atlantic Center for the Arts I’m not an efficient traveler with a well-packed suitcase and car. I’ve had a basketball in... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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James Merrill The year I was born, when I was less than two weeks old, celebrated poet James Merrill published his poem, “A Tenancy” in Poetry. It would appear the next year in his collection, Water Street, which drew its name from the house Merrill shared with his partner, David Jackson in Stonington, CT. He owned the property at 107 Water Street from 1955 until his death in 1995, when he gave it to the Stonington Village Improvement Association (SVIA). The SVIA had the vision to create a writer-in-residence program. They kept everything in the apartment as Merrill had left... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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For the last three years, I’ve been traveling and writing about the subjects of fear and living with uncertainty. This month I’m in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, glad to be in residence at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. I live and work in the fellows’ residence and studio barn complex, surrounded by 400 acres of rolling pasture and farmland. Composer Ayesu Lartey @ VCCA Last week, Ayesu Lartey, a writer, performer and composer in residence, offered to sing for us, five people at a time in the barn silo. The white silo door is located within... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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In last week's Next Line, Please contest, judge David Lehman invited readers to write a two-line stanza, or "tanka" to build on Paul Breslin’s winning haiku from the previous week. Here's what Lehman has to say about the winning submission: ---------- In the contest for the best two-line tail to Paul Breslin’s haiku, the laurels go to Barbara Shine: The wheat bends before the wind, rehearsing its surrender. The highly visual first line shifts our focus from the sickle to the grain—from the manmade tool to the part of nature it means to glean. The second line delivers a double... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
Dear David (2) I’ve been meaning to thank you so much for publishing my work on The Best American Poetry blog a few months back. Isn’t it the same old same old: well meaning folk post great feedback, then with not much delicacy: “Why restrict poetry to the sestina? Why work rework that old form? Wouldn’t your poetry mean much more if you didn’t look back? Back off. You make the work much too hard. Discard what’s old, just say what you mean, write unencumbered poetry.” David, the sestina is my poetry, its structure is the back I lean on.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
I could memorize my poems and declaim them from stages in avant-garde spaces and coffee house traces of somebody else's ideas and call it performance art, but I already did that before you were born. I could put them on stages as a one-man show or in the mouths of pros and blow you away with the passion story of my life and call it avant-garde post-modern deconstructivist language theater, but I did that too, when you were still in grade school. I could live on the streets sleep in abandoned buildings drink cheap rotgut take whatever drugs are offered... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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This week we welcome Kelle Groom as our guest author. Kelle's poetry collections are Five Kingdoms, recognized in Entertainment Weekly's "Best New Poetry" (Anhinga Press); Luckily, a Florida Book Award winner (Anhinga); and Underwater City (University Press of Florida.) Her work has appeared in Agni, Best American Poetry (2009 & 2010), The New Yorker, New York Times, Ploughshares, Poetry, and The Writer's Almanac. Groom’s memoir, I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl is a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick, New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice selection, a Library Journal Best Memoir, B&N Best... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
(ed note: another wise post by Rachel. sdh) Lately I've been working on finding the right balance between paying attention to the world and its many injustices, and cultivating an internal sense of peacefulness and compassion. Against this backdrop, a friend recently shared with me a teaching from her Buddhist practice. According to this way of thinking, if one increases one's own suffering, one adds to the suffering of the universe; if one increases one's own peacefulness, one adds to the peacefulness of the universe. via velveteenrabbi.blogs.com Continue reading
Reblogged Aug 23, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
Thank you for this wise and comforting post. It's what I needed this morning. Stacey
Toggle Commented Aug 23, 2014 on Seeking peace at Velveteen Rabbi
1 reply
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The Auditorium at 66 West 12th Street, Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall New York, NY 10011 Series editor and School of Writing professor David Lehman joins contributors to The Best American Poetry 2014 to launch the 27th edition of this acclaimed annual anthology. Readers will include Lucie Brock-Broido, Mark Doty, Joel Dias-Porter, Natalie Diaz, Sean Thomas Dougherty, Cornelius Eady, Ross Gay, Le Hinton, Major Jackson, Yusef Komunyakaa, Hailey Leithauser, Frannie Lindsay, Cate Marvin, Shara McCallum, Valzhyna Mort, Eileen Myles, D. Nurkse, Sharon Olds, Greg Pardlo, Roger Reeves, Patrick Rosal, Jon Sands, Jane Springer, Afaa Michael Weaver, and Rachel Zucker. Sponsored by... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
08 / 22 / 08 Today in 1862 Claude Debussy was born. I remember where I was and what I was doing one hundred years and two months later: elementary algebra, trombone practice, Julius Caesar on the record player with Brando as Antony, simple buttonhook patterns in football, the French subjunctive, and the use of "quarantine" rather than "blockade" during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was considered the less belligerent word. Much was made of it in 1962, centenary of Debussy’s birth. And if today I play his Rhapsody for Saxophone and Orchestra for the ten minutes it requires of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon, The winds that will be howling at all hours, And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers, For this, for everything, we are out of tune; It moves us not. --Great God! I'd rather be A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2014 at The Best American Poetry