The Best American Poetry 2014 (The Best American Poetry series)
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Edited by the National Book Award-winning poet Terrance Hayes, the foremost annual anthology of contemporary American poetry returns: “A ‘best’ anthology that really lives up to its title” (Chicago Tribune).
The first book of poetry that Terrance Hayes ever bought was the 1990 edition of The Best American Poetry, edited by Jorie Graham. Hayes was then an undergrad at a small South Carolina college. He has since published four highly honored books of poetry, is a professor of poetry at the University of Pittsburgh, has appeared multiple times in the series, and is one of today’s most decorated poets. His brazen, restless poems capture the diversity of American culture with singular artistry, grappling with facile assumptions about identity and the complex repercussions of race history in this country.
Always eagerly anticipated, the 2014 volume of The Best American Poetry begins with David Lehman’s “state-of-the-art” foreword followed by an inspired introduction from Terrance Hayes on his picks for the best American poems of the past year. Following the poems is the apparatus for which the series has won acclaim: notes from the poets about the writing of their poems.
box in the attic, under the stars where his father was wheeling, and he raised his feline companion—I don’t know girl or boy—without his mother much noticing, hard as she worked, silent as she kept. And his pet grew, and when they got to the woods he would take off the collar and leash and they would frolic together, she-he/he-she would teach Stanley, already sinuous, to slink and hunt. And I don’t know who it was who suddenly saw that Stanley’s companion, growing stronger and bigger
the elimination of courses and requirements once considered vital. The host of “worrisome long-trends” included “a national decline in the number of graduating high-school seniors, a swarm of technologies driving down costs and profit margins, rising student debt, a soft job market for college graduates and stagnant household incomes.”8 Is that all? No, and it isn’t everything. There has also been a spate of op-ed columns suggesting that students would be wise to save their money, study something
the serpent’s teeth: these were to be / the seeds of men to come . . . —Ovid, The Metamorphoses . . . I can’t make up / a name like Turnipseed! Or that // I knew a man who went by such / a goodly name. . . . —Maurice Manning I knew a man by such a name, though didn’t know until you told me so, that a turnip seed is tiny, it’s a little bit of hardly anything. I should have known. Miniscule—a man, a goodly man, his seed— what’s that beside a war, misrule, history looming like a
teaches peripatetically and perennially in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Of “Sowing,” Wilner writes: “My poems tend to emerge from the imagination, which is to say, I make things up. But this one, uncharacteristically, comes direct from a personal memory, called up by the lines from a poem by Maurice Manning, which became the epigraph: ‘I can’t make up / a name like Turnipseed, or that // I knew a man who went by such / a goodly name . . . ’ And with that name came back,
poetry, and art in general. —Dr. Charles Kinbote Dr. Kinbote: It is a graupelous December evening and I am with Terrance Hayes in the wine and coffee shop of a quaint American neighborhood. Before we go too far, what explanation or polite excuse can you offer regarding this unconventional “interview as introduction”? Terrance Hayes: David Foster Wallace argues in his intro to the 2007 Best American Essays that since the guest editor’s introduction is rarely of interest to a reader, the editor