Cover image for The Best American poetry, 2000
The Best American poetry, 2000
Dove, Rita.
Publication Information:
New York : Scribner, [2000]

Physical Description:
285 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
Bio-bibliographies of poets: p. 207-256.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS584 .B43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PS584 .B43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS584 .B43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS584 .B43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Since its debut in 1988, sales for The Best American Poetry have nearly quadrupled. Now, in the midst of a present explosion in the interest of poetry nationwide (The New York Times), this renowned series promises to deliver one of its finest volumes yet with Rita Dove as the year's guest editor. One of the most prominent figures in the poetry world, former Poet Laureate Dove brings all of her dynamism and well-honed acumen to bear on the project.Dove has chosen the best poems of the year from a wide range of literary magazines and journals. Along with the work of today's most celebrated poets, including W. S. Merwin, Lucille Clifton, Susan Mitchell, and John Ashbery, Dove has also selected several fresh and diverse poems from a host of groundbreaking newcomers. Featuring comments from the poets elucidating their work and a Foreword by Series Editor David Lehman, The Best American Poetry 2000 is an especially strong addition to the series People magazine called, a year's worth of the very best.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Dove's edition of this distinguished annual neither ruffles feathers, as Adrienne Rich did in 1996 by deliberately opening the collection to minority voices, knocks your socks off, as Richard Howard's stellar 1995 collection did, nor induces somnolence, as some years' gatherings have. Instead, Dove's selection bears out series editor Lehman's optimism about the state of American poetic art at the turn of the century. For it includes Susan Mitchell's anguished and humorous "Lost Parrot"; Lynne McMahon's "We Take Our Children to Ireland," in which said offspring's most joyous discovery is casual Irish vulgarity; Julianna Baggott's devastating dramatic monologue, "Mary Todd on Her Deathbed"; Richard Siken's "The Dislocated Room," with its sinister aura and implications; and Pamela Sutton's extraordinary evocation of a northern plains childhood, "There Is a Lake of Ice on the Moon." And they are equaled if not excelled by many other poems, far from all of them by big-name poets, though those that are, such as Thom Gunn's and Mary Oliver's, are choice. --Ray Olson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Perhaps it is the too-familiar audacity of the title, or sour grapes over the always big-name guest editors, but no series arouses quite as much po-biz rancorÄvociferous nit-picking over choices and kibitzing in generalÄas this 13-years-and-running institution, overseen by poet and critic David Lehman (The Daily Mirror; The Last Avant-Garde; etc.). None of that matters to the many consumers who make this book their only verse purchase of the year, though, and this year's outing, edited by Pulitzer-winner and former Poet Laureate Rita Dove, should reach that target market nicely. Dove's volume improves over John Hollander's (1998) and Robert Bly's (1999) respective orthodoxies, but offers fewer surprises than those of John Ashbery (1988) or Adrienne Rich (1996). Dove is drawn to nervous, careful, archaism-strewn monologues (Erin Belieu's free verse, Denise Duhamel's double sestina, Mark Jarman's prose "Epistle"), and to fine but unspectacular work from big names (Carolyn Kizer, Yusef Komunyakaa, Michael Palmer, Robert Pinsky, Mary Oliver, Derek Walcott, Richard Wilbur and others). She includes outwardly comic, inwardly serious lists and invocations by younger poets (Christopher Edgar, Karl Elder, Oleana Kalytiak Davis, Dean Young), even-voiced reportage from global scenes of horror (Linh Dinh, Gabriel Spera) and reports from more quotidian trials (Ray Gonzalez, David Kirby), but there's nothing that absolutely floors. Fifty pages of contributors' notes and biographies introduce the poets and poems, along with introductions from Lehman and Dove. Most intriguing here may be the appendix, "The Best American Poetry of the Twentieth Century," which has all 14 editors of the series so far (including Lehman) listing their bests or favorites from the previous 100 years of poetry. The results will send many back to Berryman, Crane, Frost, Hayden, Moore, Stein and others, if not to many of the poets actually represented here. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

It is remarkably difficult to assess and review far-ranging anthologies like this one, which includes dozens of distinct poetic voices but adheres to no single school, theme, or style. Still, it must be said that this series, now in its 13th year under the general editorship of Lehman, is one of the best things going in modern American literature, kept fresh by new and distinguished guest editors. Dove especially honors poets for "stepping into the fray of life," and her selection draws on both the familiar (Susan Mitchell, Richard Wilbur, W.S. Merwin, Mary Oliver, Thom Gunn) and the less familiar (A.E. Stallings, Juliana Baggott, B.H. Fairchild). The high points are too many to name, and readers will have different favorites. An added feature of the 2000 edition is a collection of lists by most of the previous editorsDa kind of literary parlor game, to be sure, but provocative, pleasing, and a fitting cap to the last series entry of the century. Highly recommended.DGraham Christian, formerly with Andover-Harvard Theological Lib., Cambridge, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Barbara Hamby: Ode to the Lost Luggage Warehouse at the Rome Airport Until you've visited the lost luggage warehouse at the Rome airport in August, you have not lived, the Mediterranean sun insinuating itself into the inner sucking marrow of your bones, roasting your epidermis like a holiday bird. A goose, upon reflection, would be the fitting analogy. You hear the faint sizzling of the fat under your skin, organs grilling, brain singed as you walk to the guardhouse and show the uniformed sentinel your paper that certifies you have indeed lost your bag. You gaze at his amazing hat with plumes tinted maroon and gold while he scrutinizes your clutch of ragged forms, signed by Signor Nardo Ferrari, minor functionary with the state airline at the ufficio in Florence, who has confided in beautiful English he will retire at the end of the month and devote himself to the cultivation of vegetables and fruit, a noble endeavor, but you suspect he'll not be leaving his lush paradiso to iron out your petty problems, for you have come in pursuit of your bag, supplicant on a holy quest to retrieve that which is your own, or was once your own, the dresses, coat, boots, and intimate et cetera, nothing priceless, no treasures as such, but dear to you, especially the black coat you bought in Paris in a decrepit building below Sacré-Coeur, going with Mimi after lunch, giving the secret password, hearing the answering hiss, walking up four flights of stairs to a room filled with ugly clothes, one divine coat, now lost in the dark regions of this Italian underworld, you hope, for if not here, it's apparently nowhere, and this warehouse is a warren of high-ceilinged rooms with thousands of bags stacked on metal shelves, precariously piled backpacks with scurf from Katmandu, Malmö, Khartoum, Köln, Kraków, Istanbul, Reims in France or Francia in italiano, chic makeup cases, black bags like the suitcases of doom, hard-shelled portmanteaus like turtles (soft parts incognito, mating in tandem), briefcases, carpet bags, 19th-century trunks with straps and buckles, and you see a woman, molto dolorosa, in latex gloves, a surgeon delving, methodically, in a suitcase filled with Japanese snacks -- arare, dried squid, rice candy wrapped in thin edible paper, red and green jellied sweets -- recognized from your childhood in Hawai'i, and amid the conglomerazione of heat, memory, and rage you imagine a Japanese man, thinking, I'm going to Italy, but the food, I'll hate it, then packing his favorites: the sublime shredded mango of blessed memory, cracked plum, dried peas, and you think of Sei Sho-nagon, supercilious court lady in 10th-century Japan because you are reading her Pillow Book, a record of things that disgust or please her and you whip your kimono around and say, "Things I adore about Rome: the lingerie stores for nuns with their fifties bulletproof brassieres and other medieval undies; the floor of St. Peter's with its imperialistic measurements of the lesser cathedrals of the world, St. Paul's in London, the Milan cathedral; Caravaggio's Bacchus and Madonna of Loreto. Things that disgust me in August: backpacks with cheese, child carriers imbedded with the scum of mashed bananas and cereal, petroleum-laced breezes from jet exhaust, the color navy blue." Your Italian is meager but the denizens of this particular realm of hell are courteous if lethargic and show you that the bags are stacked by month: agosto, luglio, giugno, but that's as far as they go. No Joe DiMaggio or before. To be anywhere else is all you want. You hate your clothes, no coat's worth the flames licking your feet, but you take a careful waltz through the months, and find nothing in the midst of so much. The whole long way back to Florence, while the gorgeous panorama of the countryside flies by, you have a caffè, try to read, but a few seats down a child screams, hysterical with fatigue, and you see his face with its sticky impasto of snot, candy and tears, and you think of all your losses, those past and the ones to come, your own death, il tuo morto, which makes the loss of a French coat, shoes, and a few dresses seem ridiculous. You think of your arrival in Florence, the walk home from the station past the Duomo, your husband's hands, his kisses and the dinner you'll eat, prosciutto and melone, perhaps, some ravioli in a restaurant near the Sant'Ambrogio market, you'll buy a new coat for winter, an Italian coat, il soprabito, one more beautiful than the one lost. That's the way your life will go, one day after another, until you begin your kamikaze run toward death. It makes you sick to think of it until you begin to get used to the idea. I'd better get busy, you think, enjoy life, be good to others, drink more wine, fill a suitcase with arare, dried squid because when you leave home anything can happen. You may be caught in a foreign country one day, without money, clothes or anything good to eat, and you'll have to try that stinky ravioli, brine-soaked pig knuckles, poached brains quivering on a wooden platter, tripe, baked ear wax, fried grasshoppers, ant cakes, dirt soufflés, and though it seems impossible, they could prove delicious or at the very least nourishing, so don't make a fool of yourself, and one day you may join Signor Ferrari in his bosky Eden. Everyone will be there God, Jesus and Mary, your mother and father, even your pain-in-the-ass sister who got everything. Heaven, you hate it: the conversation's boring, and everyone's so sane, so well-adjusted. And it's cold. Heaven should be warm, a bit like Tahiti, so you're furious, and then you see your sister, and she's not cold because she's wearing your French coat, but you're not in heaven, you're on a train, going faster, it seems, as you approach Florence. You're in a muddle, glum, have nothing to show for your day but a headache and a blister on your heel. You want the train to crash, blow you to kingdom come. You want your mother to kiss you, call you Baby, Darling; you'd sell your soul for some shredded mango or dried plum. from Five Points Copyright © 2000 by David Lehman Excerpted from The Best American Poetry 2000 by Rita Dove All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.