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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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Three months ago, the American Scholar initiated a contest to write a crowd-sourced sonnet. With line fourteen chosen, all that remains to complete the poem is a title. Visit the American Scholar's page to enter your candidate. Here is the completed sonnet: How like a prison is my cubicle, And yet how far my mind can freely roam: From gaol to Jerusalem, Hell to home. Freedom ends or starts with a funeral. Say what must die inside that I may not Cast down this die and cross the Rubicon, Thence to the true hell: the heat in Tucson, Where drug... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at The Best American Poetry
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Greetings from Sodus, NY (circa 2003). We took a trip and we thought about you . . . -- sdh Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at The Best American Poetry
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This week we welcome Katherine Zlabek as our guest author. Katherine is a native of Wisconsin. She received her M.F.A. from Western Michigan University. Her work has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, The Literary Review, The Rumpus and elsewhere. In 2012, she won an AWP Intro Journals Award. Her novel-in-stories LET THE RIVERS CLAP THEIR HANDS has been a finalist in a number of competitions, including the Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Award in 2012. This summer, she finished her PhD at the University of Cincinnati, where she was a Taft Dissertation Fellow. Find her at www.katherinezlabek.com. Welcome, Katherine. In other... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at The Best American Poetry
Ed. note: We asked Florence Cassen Mayers to blog for us at a mutually convenient time. This is how she replied. We ran this and four other sestinas of hers in April 2014. Dear David How gracious you are to ask me to write five blogs about the sestinas in Dan’s book his incredible book, you know sestinas are what I write. I’ve never written a blog. I’m filled with terror: five! Will five do justice to his book? What can I say in a blog? You honor me, but I’d rather write sestinas. I’ve practiced sestinas two score years... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at The Best American Poetry
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photo of Frédéric Bouché (r) by Heather Ainsworth Join David Lehman and Frédéric Bouché for a summer evening of: Poetry & Port Thursday, August 7, 2014 7:30-9:00 PM Ports of New York Winery 815 Taber Street Ithaca, NY Sample Ports of New York’s delicious white or red Meleau wine while listening to David Lehman read his award-winning translations of poetry by Charles Baudelaire, Guillaume Apollinaire, and Henri Michaux. Frédéric Bouché will treat you to poems in their original French, all in the intimate space where he crafts wines unique to the Finger Lakes. David Lehman is the creator and series... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at The Best American Poetry
We need line 14. . . Please submit your candidate here The sonnet so far: How like a prison is my cubicle, And yet how far my mind can freely roam: From gaol to Jerusalem, Hell to home. Freedom ends or starts with a funeral. Say what must die inside that I may not Cast down this die and cross the Rubicon, Thence to the true hell: the heat in Tucson Where drug lords blaze loads of coke, meth, and pot. Freedom starts or ends with a funeral. I once watched men with Uzis guard the Pope No hope, no... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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250 poets. 5 boroughs. 2 days. ONE CITY. The fourth annual New York City Poetry Festival promises to be bigger and better than ever, with over 60 poetry organizations and 250 poets participating on three main stages; a Vendor’s Village where local booksellers, artists and craft makers will sell their wares; healthy and delicious food truck options (including Morris Grilled Cheese, the Palenque Columbian Food Truck, Big D’s Grub Truck, and the Mudtruck); a beer garden sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery, poetry­inspired installation art throughout; the Ring of Daisies open mic; and the 3rd Annual Children’s Poetry Festival, complete with writing... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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This week we welcome Lindsay Daigle as our guest author. Lindsay is a doctoral candidate in poetry at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, where she also teaches undergraduate writing and literature. She holds an MFA from The New School. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Columbia Poetry Review, Barn Owl Review, Quarterly West, The Adroit Journal, Hartskill Review, and elsewhere. She likes bodies of water, running, really excellent dining experiences, cinematic montages, and gin drinks on patios. She does not so much like onions, e-readers, and when people make fun of Steely Dan. Here is a poem she... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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Maybe I dreamed it. Don Draper sips Canadian Club from a coffee mug on Craig Ferguson’s late-night talk show. “Are you on Twitter?” the host asks. “No,” Draper says. “I don’t” — he pauses before pronouncing the distasteful verb — “tweet.” Next question. “Do you read a lot of poetry?” Though the hero of “Mad Men” is seen reading Dante’s “Inferno” in one season of the show and heard reciting Frank O’Hara in another, the question seems to come from left field. “Poetry isn’t really celebrated anymore in our culture,” Draper says, to which Ferguson retorts, “It can be —... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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Line twelve is in the bag in The American Scholar's crowd-sourced sonnet, thanks to readers' clever contributions. David Lehman recognizes runners-up and now includes a winner's circle in his weekly posts. Suggest line thirteen for Next Line, Please by midnight, Sunday, July 21. (Note: You must post your line at the American Scholar site.) Here's the sonnet to date: How like a prison is my cubicle, And yet how far my mind can freely roam From gaol to Jerusalem, Hell to home. Freedom ends or starts with a funeral. Say what must die inside that I may not Cast down... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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This week we welcome back John Lane as our guest author. John is a professor of environmental studies and director of the Goodall Environmental Studies Center at Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC. His latest book of poems is ABANDONED QUARRY: NEW & SELECTED POEMS (Mercer University Press, 2011) which won the SIBA Poetry Prize (Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance). In October New Native Press will publish his new collection THE OLD ROB POEMS. He is a frequent contributor to the BAP blog. www.kudzutelegraph.com Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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Yao Xiao The most marvelous seduction poem in the English language combines the logical precision of the mathematician with the wit of a courtier and passion of a lusty lover. Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" has wowed a regiment of English majors, generations of suitors and their valentines since it was written 3 1/2 centuries ago. T.S. Eliot liked it so much that he raided it twice, lifting an image for "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and lampooning a couplet in "The Waste Land." Marvell (1621-1678), one of the great mystery men of English letters, lived a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
We need line 12 for our crowd-sourced sonnet! 'Tis a game anyone can play. It elevates collaboration and chance to an esthetic dieal." -- Manny Kant Here is where we are right now: <<< How like a prison is my cubicle, And yet how far my mind can freely roam From gaol to Jerusalem, Hell to home. Freedom ends or starts with a funeral. Say what must die inside that I may not Cast down this die and cross the Rubicon Thence to the true hell: the heat of Tucson Where drug lords blaze loads of coke, meth, and pot.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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An Evening with Outstanding New York Poets and Performers: David Lehman, Tulis McCall and Philip Fried. Hosted by Andrey Gritsman. The Cornelia Street Café 29 Cornelia Street New York, NY 10014 Phone: 212-989-9319 Find more information here. Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
after David Markson Poet has been trying to eschew emotion. Impartial directness, Poet wants. I was born like this. I had no choice. I was born with the gift of the golden voice. graveled Leonard Cohen one night at the Kimmel Center. I’m crazy for love, but I’m not coming on. You can’t really put it that way anymore. Which is to say, Poet knows that sentimentality is out of season. All men say ‘What’ to me, wrote Emily Dickinson to Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Poet has heard the joke becomes serious with space; to make sentiment felt, one should make... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
At funerals you get a sense of 'team': "He bore his burden well"--stifling a yawn; "She wasn't someone you'd enjoy tea with, exactly, but--"; "They kept on keeping on." Each mask that hides a life receives tribute: "He was adored by dogs"; "She set a tone"; "Behind her drinking lay a golden heart"-- old age become a village of its own. I was too young; I couldn't comprehend how deficits increase over the years-- I shunned their ledger-faces for my books, determined not to end up in arrears. What will they say of me? "His load was light." "And for... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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This week we welcome Rochelle Hurt as our guest author. Rochelle is the author of The Rusted City, a novel in poems published by White Pine Press in the Marie Alexander Poetry Series (2014). Her work has been included in Best New Poets 2013 and listed as notable in Best American Essays 2013. She has been awarded several literary prizes, including the 2013 Richard Peterson Poetry Prize from Crab Orchard Review, Tupelo Quarterly's TQ3 Poetry Prize, the 2011 Rumi Poetry Prize from Arts & Letters, the 2011 Ruth Stone Poetry Prize from Hunger Mountain, and the 2010 Poetry International Prize.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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NA: Tell me about Jaded Ibis Press? DDB: Jaded Ibis Press is an imprint of the multimedia company, Jaded Ibis Productions. We publish and produce literature, art and music that are intellectually, culturally and environmentally sustainable. Our titles consist of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and hybrids. We’re best known for writing that reaches far beyond conventional literature. Since January 2011 Jaded Ibis Productions and its imprint Jaded Ibis Press have gained national attention for our innovative business model and intrepid explorations into the newest literature and digital technologies. Jaded Ibis Press, its editors and authors have been the subject of feature... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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Ghetto Picnic Photo by Matt Weber It's the fourth of July, the flags are painting the town, the plastic forks and knives are laid out like a parade. And I'm grilling, I've got my apron, I've got potato salad, macaroni, relish, I've got a hat shaped like the state of Pennsylvania. I ask my father what's his pleasure and he says, "Hot dog, medium rare," and then, "Hamburger, sure, what's the big difference," as if he's really asking. I put on hamburgers and hot dogs, slice up the sour pickles and Bermudas, uncap the condiments. The paper napkins are fluttering... Continue reading
Posted Jul 4, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
Thanks to the repair work that's ongoing here, there's a temporary platform and scaffolding outside of our windows on the second floor. I was able to climb out on Sunday to take a few photos of the 44th annual Gay Pride Parade, which marches down 5th Avenue and turns west on 8th Street. Click through the slide-show to spot the celebrity in the crowd. Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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The American Scholar is on line ten of its crowd-sourced sonnet, thanks to readers' clever contributions. David Lehman recognizes runners-up and now includes a winner's circle in his weekly posts. Suggest line ten for Next Line, Please by midnight, Sunday, July 7. (You must post your line at the American Scholar site.) Here's the sonnet to date: How like a prison is my cubicle, And yet how far my mind can freely roam From gaol to Jerusalem, Hell to home. Freedom ends or starts with a funeral. Say what must die inside that I may not Cast down this die... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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A few weeks ago I was looking for something to listen to, searching out – as I often do -- a mood, a tone. I picked out Horace Silver’s Re-entry, a compilation of live dates from 1965-66. As with many of Silver’s CDs, Re-entry was pure toe-tapping fun. The joyful tunes stuck with me for days afterwards. So I felt an immediate sadness when I read about Silver’s death last week because his music -- especially “Cape Verdean Blues” -- was still very much alive in me. I’m sure the sadness was heightened by the knowledge that most of the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2014 at The Best American Poetry