Guest Editor: JAMES TATE

  Now celebrating its tenth anniversary, The Best American Poetry is the one indispensable volume for readers eager to follow what's new in poetry today. Sales continue to grow and plaudits keep coming in for this "high-voltage testament to the vitality of American poetry" (Booklist). Presenting the seventy-five best poems of the year, this collection spotlights the extraordinary talent of our nation's poets and once again delivers the startling and imaginative writing that more and more people have come to expect from this prestigious series.

Selected by prizewinning guest editor James Tate, the poems in The Best American Poetry 1997 were taken from more than three dozen magazines and encompass the full spectrum of poetic form. As series editor David Lehman notes in his introduction, "the contents are as unpredictable as the plot twist in a French prose poem. Ranging from the comic to the cosmic, from the contemplative to the sublime, the poems treat the varied subjects of history, love, "feminine intuition," the "problem of anxiety," Mick Jagger, and California. Included are works by recently deceased legendary poets Joseph Brodsky and Allen Ginsberg, and Derek Walcott's moving elegy for Brodsky. In addition to showcasing our leading bards — such as John Ashbery, Jorie Graham, Robert Hass, and Mark Strand — the collection marks an auspicious debut for eye-opening younger poets, whose work is proof positive of the sustained resurgence American poetry is enjoying. With comments from the poets themselves offering insights into their work, The Best American Poetry 1997 confirms James Tate's proclamation that "there is no end to our needing poetry. Without poetry our Culture and, more importantly, our collective Spirit would be a tattered, wayward thing." Here are seventy-five unforgettable poems that live up to the promise of the art at its most profound — they nourish and inspire our spirits, provoke our minds, and, above all, entertain us.

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