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The BEST American Poetry 2007

Finally getting around to reading The Best American Poetry 2007, edited by Heather McHugh (guest editor) and David Lehman (series editor), and I'm more than half-way through this year's rather slim volume (at least, compared to recent editions).

I'm still trying to make up my mind about where 2007's crop of poems rank against previous years in this series, but one of the great things about this anthology has little to do with the actual poems. What I love about this anthology are the 70+ explanations of the poems by the actual poets. It's really a great learning experience.

For instance, Rae Armantrout writes, "Part of the pleasure of poetry has always been the rather strange pleasure of 'calling one thing by another's name.' That's what metaphor does, after all. 'Scumble' asks about the psychology of this phenomenon. What is the kick in substitution? Is it covertly erotic?"

Julie Carr honestly writes, "The poem 'marriage' has had so many permutations that its source is no longer any particular lived or imagined experience. Its sources are instead its previous selves. The phonic and semantic relationships among the words 'marriage,' 'edge,' 'manna,' and 'mannered' have been, throughout, constant points of interest."

Of his poem "Best Am Po," Mark Halliday writes, "If I'd known that this poem would end up in The Best American Poetry, I would have made it even more ambitious."

How I like to read this anthology, in fact, is to use a small Post-It to bookmark the current poem I'm reading and a small Post-It to bookmark the corresponding poet commentary. That way, I can read the comments on the poem while the poem is still fresh in my mind.

While I'm still making up my mind about this particular volume, one thing is certain: The overall series is very interesting and filled with diversity. Each guest editor seems to take the anthology in a different direction, and that is a great thing.

*****

For some more on The Best American Poetry 2007:

Mark Kurlansky: On Coincidences Driving Memoir

Mark Kurlansky: On Coincidences Driving Memoir

Award-winning author, playwright, and journalist Mark Kurlansky discusses the experience of channeling Ernest Hemingway in his new memoir, The Importance of Not Being Ernest.

In-Between: Writer's Digest 2nd Annual Personal Essay Awards Winner

In-Between: Writer's Digest 2nd Annual Personal Essay Awards Winner

Congratulations to Alyssa Rickert, Grand Prize winner of the 2nd Annual Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards. Here's her winning essay, "In Between."

Things To Consider When Writing About Ghosts and the Supernatural in Fiction

Things To Consider When Writing About Ghosts and the Supernatural in Fiction

From maintaining subtlety to visiting haunted places, author J. Fremont shares everything to consider when writing about ghosts and the supernatural in fiction.

6 Effective Steps To Promote Your Forthcoming Book on Social Media and Feel Good About It

6 Effective Steps To Promote Your Forthcoming Book on Social Media and Feel Good About It

Social media is a daunting albeit important aspect of promoting our work. Here, author Aileen Weintraub offers six steps to promote your book on social media authentically.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 609

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a world-building poem.

Writer's Digest Presents podcast image

Writer's Digest Presents: World-Building (Podcast, Episode 5)

In the fifth episode of the Writer's Digest Presents podcast, we talk about world-building in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, including interviews with authors Whitney Hill (fiction) and Jeannine Hall Gailey (poetry).

Heirloom

Heirloom

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, someone's shown up demanding your narrator's family heirloom.

May Cobb: On Stolen Moments

May Cobb: On Stolen Moments

Author May Cobb discusses offering readers a summer of mayhem with her new novel, My Summer Darlings.

The Time Is Now: Securing First-Hand Accounts of History for Writing Projects

The Time Is Now: Securing First-Hand Accounts of History for Writing Projects

Writer Stephen L. Moore discusses the benefits of having first-hand accounts for historical writing and offers advice on best practices in securing interviews while there’s still time.