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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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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 3 hours 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 3 days ago 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 4 days ago 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 5 days ago 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 7 days ago 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
They think they're wags, but they're really tails. The Wags of Fear: fantasizing they carry nitro, but it's really 'Nite-So' ('night soil,' a green product developed by the Self-Importance Movement). Scorpions--not sorcerers or 'Scorpios'--but actual scorpions. They're all looking for a Frog to carry them across the river. You can find them posing at poetry readings, whispering, 'Monsieur? Monsieur?' -- James Cummins Note: See The Wages of Fear by Henri-Georges Clouzot (with Yves Montand) and the remake, Sorcerer, by William Friedkin Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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This week we welcome Peter Ferry as our guest author. Peter grew up in Parkersburg, West Virginia, and Chicago. He has a B.A. from Ohio University and an M.A. in English Literature from Northwestern University. He edited and wrote textbooks for Rand McNally and Company in the 1970’s and taught English at Lake Forest High School for twenty-seven years. His first novel Travel Writing was published in English in The United States and The United Kingdom and in Portuguese in Brazil. It was recorded by Blackstone Audio, Inc. and movie rights were purchased by Castle Rock. Ferry is a frequent... Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
HERE'S THE CHALLENGE: John Lawrence Ashbery, guest editor of the inaugural volume in The Best American Poetry series in 1988, has the same middle name as an American poet of note, born in the nineteenth century, whose work appears in The Oxford Book of American Poetry. Name him and write a sonnet — rhymed or unrhymed — comparing the two poets. Click here to read Peter Jay Shippy's winning entry selected by judge Paul Violi. -- DL Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
DAVID IGNATOW On February 15, 1971, I receive a telegram—a real telegram with teletype pasted onto yellow Western Union paper—announcing my acceptance into David Ignatow’s Craft of Poetry workshop at the 92nd Street Y. This will be my first workshop. I don’t know much about Ignatow—I applied because a friend said her brother was excited to have a chance to study with him (he didn’t get in)—and I buy two of his books. As I devour Ignatow’s colloquial poems of bagels and bums, apples and America, his laments of love and life, I feel a too-good-to-be-true nervousness. I am overmatched.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
Cambridge University, with its medieval passageways and glorious college gardens, has dominated this town for over 800 years. It is the university of Byron and Wordsworth, Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking, Emma Thompson and Stephen Frye. Francis Crick and James Watson famously announced their discovery of DNA at the Eagle, an event enshrined on a plaque on the pub’s smoke blackened walls. David Lehman studied at Clare College in Cambridge for two years, while a Kellett Fellow from Columbia University. He was following in the footsteps of poets and scholars, including John Berryman, and his contemporaries David Shapiro and Aaron... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2014 at The Best American Poetry