Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Best American Poetry 2005

The series Best American Poetry has been published now for 18 years, each year with a guest editor. Paul Muldoon, the editor of Best American Poetry 2005, has chosen 75 poems that represent a great variety of poetic styles. As a result there is something for everyone to love and to hate in this collection.

I will concentrate on what I loved.

"Adam and Eve's Dog" by Richard Garcia tells the real story of why the first couple left the Garden of Eden. Apples and serpents are not involved.

"19--: An Elegy" by Andrew Feld summarizes the 20th Century alphabetically in less than two pages.

Amy Gerstler tells a sad story about retrieving the possessions of the deceased in "Watch."

Jessica Goodheart may offer "Advice for a Stegosaurus," but it is not going to help much.

Do not assume you understand ants. In "Ants" Vicki Hudspith dishes out the insect gossip.

Galway Kinnell reflects on the children of "Shelley" and his lovers. It is a grim legacy.

Richard Nixon communicates with Leonid Brezhnev in Rachel Loden's "In the Grave of Fallen Monuments" that time improves the past.

"Death Is Intended" by Linda Pastan presents an unfamiliar view on suicide.

Richard Wilbur playfully puts "Some Words Inside of Words (for children and others."

Unlike in many poetry collections, the "Contributors' Notes and Comments" in the appendix are substantial. Some help readers understand what they have read. All profile the poets.

Use The Best American Poetry 2005 as a catalogue from which you select new poets to read. The selection is top notch.

The Best American Poetry 2005. New York: Scribner Poetry, 2005. ISBN 0743257588

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