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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
In celebration of American Archives Month, the National Archives has partnered with the Academy of American Poets to present original poems inspired by the holdings of the National Archives. Continue reading
Posted yesterday at The Best American Poetry
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One more academic year rushed past in the blur of regular demands on time and attention. During it, I made arrangements for a longer stint of 10 days with my father’s papers, and arrangements to visit St.Agnes cemetery in Albany: my sister and I would make a weekend of it, drive up to Albany from Boston, explore a little more the Stuart-Montague branch of the family. This time at the library I arranged to look into boxes from “Series I: Family Correspondence,” and with the first folders I was absorbed by my father’s boyhood. His father had kept his son’s... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at The Best American Poetry
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5th Ave & 9th St., October 22, 2014 (photo by Stacey Harwood) Away with the academic muse! I have no business with that old prude. I invoke the familiar muse, the citizen, the boon companion, to aid me to sing to the good dogs, the poor dogs, the dirty dogs, those whom every one drives away, pestiferous and lousy, except the poor, whose associates they are, and the poet, who sees them with fraternal eye. Fie upon the foppish dog, upon the coxcomb quadruped, Dane, King Charles, pugdog or lapdog, so enamoured of himself that he darts inconsiderately between the... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at The Best American Poetry
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Consider the Lobster. © Anna Cypra Oliver 2014. Oil on canvas 18"x20". Submit Your Work To The Inquisitive Eater: New School Food Click here for more information "It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we that we cannot straightly think of one without the others," M.F.K. Fisher writes in the Art of Eating. The best food writing is not just about what's on the plate, but is, like all literature, also interested in language, psychology, and the most pressing issues of the day. The... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at The Best American Poetry
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Please come help us celebrate the release of Selected Poems by Paul Violi published by Gingko Press, Charles North and Tony Towle, Editors. Poets House 10 River Terrace (at Murray Street) New York, NY 10282 (212-431-7920) October 22, 2014, 6 to 8 p.m. There will be refreshments, and books will be available. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at The Best American Poetry
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This week we welcome M.J.Fitzgerald as our guest author. M. J. is a fiction writer, and Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota. Her novels include Concertina and The Placing of Kings. Rope-Dancer is a short story collection. She has written for UK television, translated novels from Italian, and published essays and memoir pieces in anthologies and literary magazines. Her latest essay came out in Literary Imagination in summer 2014. Welcome, M.J. In other news . . . Take a blogging intensive workshop with Managing Editor Stacey Harwood. Four Mondays beginning November 3. Details here. -- sdh Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at The Best American Poetry
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Poet Deborah Landau has launched many impressive initiatives since taking over as director of the NYU Creative Writing Program. One of the most community-minded and enjoyable is the Friday Night Happy Hour series to which she invites notable authors to read in the elegant West Village town house that holds the program's offices. The readings commence at 5:00 pm, perfect for those who want a hit of the literary life, along with a glass of wine, before heading into the weekend. Last Friday, poets Leah Umansky, and our own David Lehman were NYU's featured readers. The warmly lit rooms, fireplace,... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at The Best American Poetry
Posted 7 days ago at The Best American Poetry
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THIRSTY: Was the poet Shelley correct that poetry can be a source of knowledge and power? DAVID LEHMAN: Yes. I agree with this statement and with most of the claims for poetry that Shelley makes in his "Defence." He does, however, argue that "poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world," and here I draw the line. W. H. Auden expresses my view when he contends that this phrase describes "the secret police, not the poets." THIRSTY: What role does the poet play in a mature, democratic society? Can a poet in today's world awaken people to change their opinions... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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On October 9th, about four hundred spectators gathered in The New School’s Auditorium for A Tribute to Mark Strand. Eighteen esteemed poets read from Strand’s work while an overhead projector displayed a slideshow of Mark Strand through the years. The feverish chatter before the reading, and the way Strand was embraced and greeted by friends, family, and fans as he elegantly made his way around the room, made the event seem more like a star-studded reunion than a poetry reading. Co-hosted by John Beer and Andrew Zawacki (former students of Strand) and presented by the Academy of American Poets, the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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(Ed note: This month, Coldfront will publish a wide range of writing in an attempt to capture the spirit of Paul Violi and his writing. Here is part 2.) Commedia Violi by Michael Quattrone Tuesday morning in Putnam Valley, New York: Population: 9,500 Elevation: Infrequent Paul Violi is standing at his desk in a navy blue, flannel bathrobe and brown, Ecco walking shoes. He has just returned from a driveway jaunt to retrieve the Times, which his wife, Ann, had run over on her way to work. He tosses the paper aside, removes a deerstalker cap and unwinds a wool... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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This week we welcome Karen Schiff as our guest author. Karen is a visual artist, a sometime songwriter, & a former -- & still occasional -- English professor. Her artwork is currently on view in “Art=Text=Art: Private Languages / Public Systems,” at SUNY/Buffalo, where she will speak on "Articulate Anti-Articulations" at the exhibition's symposium in November. This year, her artist's project Counter to Type appeared in the College Art Association's Art Journal, along with her essay "Connecting the Dots / Hijacking Typography." Her drawings showed this summer at Hverfisgallerí in Reykjavik, Iceland, & last year she published a review of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
Art It Was Art Abstract and alcohol fueled. Liquid paint splattered, graffiti covered and dangerous. Surreal. Savage Beauty of Alexander McQueen, spray paint guns aimed at a white dress. Fragile. An evening gown made of peonies and roses, disintegrating. You say don’t write about life, write about art. Was it not art? The finger painting of my hair, the pigment of your eyes, the sculpture of my thigh. You say don’t write about life, write about art. Was it not art? My solo performance when you left me nude in the gallery covered in snow? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNmsXyesi0c http://blog.metmuseum.org/alexandermcqueen/dress-sarabande/ Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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NA: Tell me about Les Figues Press. What makes it unique? AW: Well, to put it bluntly, Les Figues is dedicated to creating conversations between readers, writers, and artists, in particular those engaged in and interested in innovative works. We do this through publishing books as well as curating live performance and other non-print creations. I honestly think our audience would be the best at describing what exactly makes us and our books unique, but I’ll give it a shot from my perspective as an editor. One of the things that I think makes us unique is what I might... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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118 Westerly Terrace, where Wallace Stevens lived from 1932 until his death in 1955 We recently learned that Wallace Stevens's Hartford, Connecticut, home has been sold and its new owners plan to use it as a private residence. While we're pleased that the home won't fall into disrepair, we're sad that the property will not be available as a historic site for lovers of Stevens's poetry to enjoy. Now, news come to us that Alison Johnson (Wallace Stevens: A Dual Life as Poet and Insurance Executive) is making a documentary about Stevens, one that, in addition to the basic biographical... Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
October 10 5:00pm Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House, 58 West 10th Street David Lehman is the author of several collections of poems and criticism, including “The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets” (Doubleday, 1998). His most recent work is “New and Selected Poems” (Scribner, 2013). Leah Umansky is the author of the Mad-Men inspired chapbook, “Don Dreams and I Dream” (Kattywompus Press, 2014) and the full length collection, “Domestic Uncertainties,” (BlazeVOX, 2013). This event is free. Find more information here. Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
The Auditorium at 66 West 12th Street, Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall New York, NY 10011 Readings and words of praise will be offered by poets Jonathan Aaron, John Beer, Peg Boyers, Timothy Donnelly, Jorie Graham, Ed Hirsch, John Koethe, David Lehman, Honor Moore, Jacqueline Osherow, Mary Jo Salter, Alan Shapiro, Vijay Sheshadri, Charles Simic, Tom Sleigh, Susan Stewart, Rosanna Warren, Charles Wright, and Andrew Zawacki. Sponsored by the Academy of American Poets, the Poetry Society of America and the School of Writing. -- sdh Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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For the American Scholar's second crowd-sourced poem competition, David Lehman invited readers to write a five-line acrostic poem with an epigraph from the intellectual godfather of The American Scholar, Ralph Waldo Emerson, as a starting point. The first letter of each line would spell "Waldo." David Lehman has chosen the final line. You can read the full acrostic over at the American Scholar. Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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This month, Coldfront, one of our favorite on-line journals, is celebrating the life and work of Paul Violi. Here's a taste of the first post. Click over to Coldfront to read the entire piece and bookmark the page so you can be up-to-date on the appreciation of this marvelous, life-affirming poet. Shortly after Paul Violi’s death (04/02/2011), the Best American Poetry blog posted the moving feature “Remembering Paul Violi.” With the recent release of The Tame Magpie ( published posthumously) and the forthcoming Selected (1970-2007), Coldfront decided it was time to once again honor and celebrate the memory of Paul.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
(Ed note: David Lehman's poem was yesterday's feature over at the Academy of American Poets. Read the full post over at the Academy's website.) Poem in the Modernist Manner David Lehman They were cheap but they were real, the old bistros. You could have a meal, drink the devil’s own red wine, and contemplate the sawdust on the floor, or fate, as the full-fed beast kicked the empty pail. The conspiracy of the second rate continued to reverberate. Everyone wanted to get his licks. Everyone said it was a steal. So the girl and I stayed out late. We walked... Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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According to today's Wall Street Journal, page one (below the fold), veteran bandleader Tommy Dorsey has come out strongly in favor of the Indonesian stock market. His top pick: PT Perusahaan Perkebunan London Sumatra Indonesia Tbk. "I can't pronounce it, and I have no friggin' idea what they do. But I know it's number one -- do I need to know anything else?" Dorsey explained his unconventional technique. "I'm not the guy who cared about love and I'm not the guy who cared about fortunes and such, never cared much," he admitted. But after listening to "Yes, Indeed" (as arranged... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2014 at The Best American Poetry