Twilight Zone of Poetry
is sometimes said to be complicated and vague. Yet there
are many who really have the taste for verse. Here are a
few new English releases.
Best American Poetry 2003
David Lehman (series editor)
Yusef Komunyakaa (guest editor)
Scribner; September 2003
encourages us to have dialogue through the observed, the
felt, and the imaginary," writes editor Yusef Komunyakaa
in his thought-provoking introduction to The Best American
Poetry 2003. As a black child of the American South and
a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, Komunyakaa brings
his singular vision to this outstanding volume. Included
here is a diverse mix of senior masters, crowd-pleasing
bards, rising stars, and the fresh voices of an emerging
generation. With comments from the poets elucidating their
work and series editor David Lehman's eloquent foreword
assessing the state of the art, The Best American Poetry
2003 is a must-have for readers of contemporary poetry.
Am: The Selected Poetry of John Clare
Jonathan Bate (editor)
Farrar Straus & Giroux;
he has steadily furnished anthology pieces, and has been
cited repeatedly by John Ashbery as an influence, only recently
have scholars and critics, often inspired by Clare's stands
on behalf of the poor and by his "green" perspectives
on forests and fields, tried to launch him as a major poet.
A passionate observer of rural England, and a poet of visionary,
even hallucinatory extremes, Clare (1793-1864) emerged from
village poverty to modest success as a "peasant poet"
before mental illness confined him to asylums, where he
produced works for which there are few points of comparison.
Clare's asylum poems, however, sound like nothing else on
earth, but impossible to forget once heard.
Lowell: Collected Poems
Frank Bidart & David Gewanter (editors)
Farrar Straus & Giroux; June 2003
quarter-century since his death, Lowell's personality and
life have overshadowed his poetry. But here poets Bidart
(who knew Lowell and who expertly dismantles Lowell's reputation
as confessional poet) and Gewanter present the first collected
volume of this pivotal American voice, a gathering astonishing
in its breadth and power. Here are poems in manuscript;
works "buried since first publication," including
Lowell's first book, Land of Unlikeness (1944); and poems
from his 11 ensuing collections, including Life Studies
(1959) and The Dolphin (1973). Readers who think they know
Lowell's work will discover new facets, and readers just
venturing into Lowell's potently rendered and ceaselessly
evocative poetic universe will find much to contemplate.