Best American Poetry, 1995

David Lehman, Editor, Richard Howard, Editor, Richard Howard, Introduction by Simon & Schuster $20.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-684-80151-3
Howard's selection of 75 poems for this annual series edited by David Lehman will delight fans of formal traditions but may disappoint readers looking for poetry of socially conscious engagement, L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E-school experimentation or non-white experience. While the works range widely in subject, in style the influence of New Formalism is pervasive--a cerebral tone and Latinate word choice give many poems a self-conscious, overwritten feel. Painful subjects, such as breast cancer, are often buried in obscure references that distance emotional response; even poems drawing from pop culture demonstrate an insular aspect. Where formal constraint combines with authentic voice, we are rewarded with powerful works: the radical brilliance of Molly Peacock, Grace Schulman's intelligent tenderness and David Wojahn's complex insight. J.D. McClatchy addresses mortality with candor and humor in ``My Mammogram,'' and Rafael Campo infuses biting political indictment with personal sorrow in ``The Battle Hymn of the Republic.'' A brief commentary by each of the writers on his/her poem gives a captivating glimpse into the writer's mind and an index lists poems and poets represented in the previous seven volumes of the series. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/18/1995
Release date: 09/01/1995
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4391-0616-7
Hardcover - 302 pages - 978-0-684-80150-6
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-1953-2
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