Guest Editor: A. R. AMMONS

  The seventh edition of The Best American Poetry, a series which has "taken its place alongside America's most prestigious annuals" (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland), features seventy-five poets — among them such luminaries as John Ashbery, Amy Clampitt, Jorie Graham, W.S. Merwin, Sharon Olds, and Richard Wilbur, as well as thirty-nine writers for the first time.

This year's sumptuous collection, gleaned from a broad variety of literary journals, displays the series' customary grace and élan. All of the major schools and movements of American poetry are represented here, reflecting a dazzling spectrum of styles, subjects, professions, and experiences. A number of the poems speak with refreshing and unprecedented candor about the pleasures and problems of erotic love. From a Nobel Prize-winning chemist to several recent college graduates, from "Baseball" to "A Short History of the Vietnam War Years," The Best American Poetry 1994 celebrates the rich music, searing imagery, and inventive language of our best poets, illuminating the bright heritage and uncertain future of our culture.

According to editor A. R. Ammons, American poetry "charms to convince, deceive, make room, find a way to autonomy and freedom." And series editor David Lehman confidently declares that "the poems in America are as various and as fresh and as new as they ever were in the land of dreams." The Best American Poetry 1994 proves the lushness and vitality of the art today.

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