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The Best American Poetry 1999

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The 1999 edition of The Best American Poetry will exceed the expectations of the many thousands of readers who eagerly await the annual arrival of this "truly memorable anthology" (Chicago Tribune). Guest editor Robert Bly, an award-winning poet and translator -- famous, too, for his leadership role in the men's movement and his bestselling book, Iron John -- has made sele The 1999 edition of The Best American Poetry will exceed the expectations of the many thousands of readers who eagerly await the annual arrival of this "truly memorable anthology" (Chicago Tribune). Guest editor Robert Bly, an award-winning poet and translator -- famous, too, for his leadership role in the men's movement and his bestselling book, Iron John -- has made selections that present American poetry in all its dazzling originality, richness, and variety. The year's poems are striking in their vibrancy; they all display that essential energy that Bly calls "heat," whether the heat of friendship, the heat of form, or the heat that results when a poet "brings the soul up close to the thing" he or she is contemplating. With comments from the poets illuminating their work, The Best American Poetry 1999 reflects the most exciting and memorable poetry being written at the end of the millennium.


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The 1999 edition of The Best American Poetry will exceed the expectations of the many thousands of readers who eagerly await the annual arrival of this "truly memorable anthology" (Chicago Tribune). Guest editor Robert Bly, an award-winning poet and translator -- famous, too, for his leadership role in the men's movement and his bestselling book, Iron John -- has made sele The 1999 edition of The Best American Poetry will exceed the expectations of the many thousands of readers who eagerly await the annual arrival of this "truly memorable anthology" (Chicago Tribune). Guest editor Robert Bly, an award-winning poet and translator -- famous, too, for his leadership role in the men's movement and his bestselling book, Iron John -- has made selections that present American poetry in all its dazzling originality, richness, and variety. The year's poems are striking in their vibrancy; they all display that essential energy that Bly calls "heat," whether the heat of friendship, the heat of form, or the heat that results when a poet "brings the soul up close to the thing" he or she is contemplating. With comments from the poets illuminating their work, The Best American Poetry 1999 reflects the most exciting and memorable poetry being written at the end of the millennium.

30 review for The Best American Poetry 1999

  1. 4 out of 5

    R.K. Cowles

    3 1/4 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brett

    In my second semester of college, on a whim I took a little one-credit pass/fail class about contemporary poetry. I was, in retrospect, embarrassingly ignorant about the subject, but the class was one that would stay with me the rest of my life. This book was a primary text. Over the years, I had come back to to it so many times that it's practically falling apart. I can recite half the poems in the book by memory. There are many rewarding and meaningful poems, but a few of my favorites are: Mary In my second semester of college, on a whim I took a little one-credit pass/fail class about contemporary poetry. I was, in retrospect, embarrassingly ignorant about the subject, but the class was one that would stay with me the rest of my life. This book was a primary text. Over the years, I had come back to to it so many times that it's practically falling apart. I can recite half the poems in the book by memory. There are many rewarding and meaningful poems, but a few of my favorites are: Mary Oliver's "Flare" (I come back to this poem over and over) John Balaban's "Story" George Bilgere's "Catch" Jennifer Hecht's "September" Bob Hicok's "What Would Freud Say?" Tony Hoagland's "Lawrence" Peggy Steele's "The Drunkard's Daughter" Dick Allen's "The Selfishness of the Poetry Reader" If you read these, you'll see the kind of poems that appeal to me personally. They're narrative-heavy and many of them have a pinch of humor. If that's not your personal style, there are plenty of other poems in the collection more focused on imagery or lyricism. I associate this book then with a bit of a personal awakening about the meaning and vitality of poetry in the modern world. It was a gateway to the world of urgent, funny, electric writing that could enrich my own life so much.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tristan

    This was a weaker than usual installment in The Best American Poetry anthology series. My positively-marked poems were less exciting than similarly marked pieces in other years and I felt like I was leaving a lot more poems blank or giving the moderately positive mark rather than the actually positive mark. The poems in the 1999 anthology just felt less inspired than many of the poems in years like 1997, or 2014, 0r 2010--or some of the individual favorite pieces in some more middling anthologies This was a weaker than usual installment in The Best American Poetry anthology series. My positively-marked poems were less exciting than similarly marked pieces in other years and I felt like I was leaving a lot more poems blank or giving the moderately positive mark rather than the actually positive mark. The poems in the 1999 anthology just felt less inspired than many of the poems in years like 1997, or 2014, 0r 2010--or some of the individual favorite pieces in some more middling anthologies in the series, like 2016 or especially 2009--there was less sparkle, less glow (which is particularly ironic, since Bly himself pointedly avoids people like the LANGUAGE poets (who I have very mixed feelings about myself) because he believes that they are lacking in a vibrancy and explosiveness that he finds necessary in poetry--a vibrancy and explosiveness that I actually largely didn't feel in the volume he edited while ostensibly using that as his main criterion for inclusion. As always the collection was filled with big names: Elizabeth Bishop, Hayden Carruth, Lucille Clifton, Billy Collins, Louise Gluck, Tony Hoagland, David Ignatow, Yusef Komunyakaa, Philip Levine, Czlslaw Milosz, Sharon Olds, Sonia Sanchez, Mary Oliver, Charles Simic, C.K. Williams. Some of these I liked, others I didn't like, but there wasn't anyone who jumped out as a voice to look into in the way I sometimes find. My favorite poems this time around were Lucille Clifton's "the mississippi river empties into the gulf", Lydia Davis's "Betrayal", Louise Gluck's "Vita Nova", Ray Gonzalez's "Breastbone", Yusef Komunyakaa's "Scapegoat", Li-Young Lee's "The Sleepless Grape," Joan Murray's "fromSonny's Hands", Mary Oliver's "Flare" (which is unusual, I don't often like her), Charles Simic's "Barber College Haircut", Marcia Southwick's "A Star is Born in the Eagle Nebula" (my very favorite), and Larissa Szporluk's "Deer Crossing the Sea". There were a few others I marked positively, but that was probably most of them. Other than the Tony Hoagland (who I never like) there weren't many pieces that I actively disliked, which was a plus, since sometimes it gets frustrating when I encounter really unpleasant poems in an anthology that is supposed to represent the best of the field in that year.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    A collection unintentionally remarkable as a sample of thought and emotion in the last years before 9/11: it's hard not to read them in that context. I marked about a third of the poems to revisit, recommend, or teach. A few, chosen essentially at random: George Bilgere's "Catch," about the first time you realize a parent is only human. Donald Hall's "Smile," chronicling a woman's life from age 25 to the end. Tony Hoagland's "Lawrence," about heroes and those who disparage them. William Matthews' "Mi A collection unintentionally remarkable as a sample of thought and emotion in the last years before 9/11: it's hard not to read them in that context. I marked about a third of the poems to revisit, recommend, or teach. A few, chosen essentially at random: George Bilgere's "Catch," about the first time you realize a parent is only human. Donald Hall's "Smile," chronicling a woman's life from age 25 to the end. Tony Hoagland's "Lawrence," about heroes and those who disparage them. William Matthews' "Misgivings," discussing insecurities and how to love long term. Mary Karr's "Patience," ruminating on the deaths of loved ones.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Not a bad one. Let's call it 3.5 stars. My favorites were Chana Bloch's "Tired Sex" and Alberto Rios's "Writing from Memory." Not a bad one. Let's call it 3.5 stars. My favorites were Chana Bloch's "Tired Sex" and Alberto Rios's "Writing from Memory."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    :-(

  7. 5 out of 5

    Geoffrey Long

  8. 5 out of 5

    Andy

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sam

  10. 4 out of 5

    BillyBlog

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ed Aust

  12. 4 out of 5

    MBP

  13. 5 out of 5

    SLH

  14. 5 out of 5

    Monet

  15. 5 out of 5

    William Cody

  16. 5 out of 5

    Camille Ferguson

  17. 5 out of 5

    S.P. Flannery

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tom Noble

  20. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

  21. 5 out of 5

    Krystal

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nori

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sam Falco

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nick

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Krafft

  26. 4 out of 5

    Troy Ketch

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kelli Allen

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  29. 4 out of 5

    Grace

  30. 4 out of 5

    Aramis

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