Since its inception in 1988, The Best American Poetry series has achieved brand-name status in the literary world as the preeminent showcase of each year's most important contributions to American poetry. Arriving at a time when, as series editor David Lehman writes in his foreword, "the hunger for poetry and the need for elegy" is great, this year's volume demonstrates poetry's astonishing vitality, its ability to move and inspire us in a way no other medium can.

As do the previous volumes in this esteemed series, The Best American Poetry 2002 spotlights the work of today's most innovative and talented poets. The pleasure of the poems selected here, editor Robert Creeley explains in his introduction, is "that they caught my fancy, some almost outrageously, some by their quiet, nearly diffident manner, some by unexpected turns of thought or insight, others by a confident authority and intent." Reflecting Creeley's standing as a figure revered across a wide spectrum of American poetry, this exceptional anthology features a diverse mix of established masters such as Adrienne Rich, John Ashbery, and Charles Wright; rising stars like Anne Carson, Carl Phillips, and Rae Armantrout; and the leading lights of a younger generation, such as Anselm Berrigan, Jenny Boully, and Maggie Nelson.

With comments from the poets elucidating their work, a thought-provoking introduction from Creeley, and Lehman's always popular foreword assessing the current state of poetry, The Best American Poetry 2002 will prove as irresistible to new readers as it is indispensable for poetry fans everywhere.

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