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"Poetry 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 o "Poetry 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. Jonathan Aaron • Beth Anderson • Nin Andrews • Wendell Berry • Frank Bidart • Diann Blakely • Bruce Bond • Catherine Bowman • Rosemary Catacalos • Joshua Clover • Billy Collins • Michael S. Collins • Carl Dennis • Susan Dickman • Rita Dove • Stephen Dunn • Stuart Dybek • Charles Fort • James Galvin • Amy Gerstler • Louise Glück • Michael Goldman • Ray Gonzalez • Linda Gregg • Mark Halliday • Michael S. Harper • Matthea Harvey • George Higgins • Edward Hirsch • Tony Hoagland • Richard Howard • Rodney Jones • Joy Katz • Brigit Pegeen Kelly • Galway Kinnell • Carolyn Kizer • Jennifer L. Knox • Kenneth Koch • John Koethe • Ted Kooser • Philip Levine • J. D. McClatchy • W. S. Merwin • Heather Moss • Stanley Moss • Paul Muldoon • Peggy Munson • Marilyn Nelson • Daniel Nester • Naomi Shihab Nye • Ishle Yi Park • Robert Pinsky • Kevin Prufer • Ed Roberson • Vijay Seshadri • Alan Shapiro • Myra Shapiro • Bruce Smith • Charlie Smith • Maura Stanton • Ruth Stone • James Tate • William Tremblay • Natasha Trethewey • David Wagoner • Ronald Wallace • Lewis Warsh • Susan Wheeler • Richard Wilbur • C. K. Williams • Terence Winch • David Wojahn Robert Wrigley • Anna Ziegler • Ahmos Zu-Bolton II


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"Poetry 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 o "Poetry 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. Jonathan Aaron • Beth Anderson • Nin Andrews • Wendell Berry • Frank Bidart • Diann Blakely • Bruce Bond • Catherine Bowman • Rosemary Catacalos • Joshua Clover • Billy Collins • Michael S. Collins • Carl Dennis • Susan Dickman • Rita Dove • Stephen Dunn • Stuart Dybek • Charles Fort • James Galvin • Amy Gerstler • Louise Glück • Michael Goldman • Ray Gonzalez • Linda Gregg • Mark Halliday • Michael S. Harper • Matthea Harvey • George Higgins • Edward Hirsch • Tony Hoagland • Richard Howard • Rodney Jones • Joy Katz • Brigit Pegeen Kelly • Galway Kinnell • Carolyn Kizer • Jennifer L. Knox • Kenneth Koch • John Koethe • Ted Kooser • Philip Levine • J. D. McClatchy • W. S. Merwin • Heather Moss • Stanley Moss • Paul Muldoon • Peggy Munson • Marilyn Nelson • Daniel Nester • Naomi Shihab Nye • Ishle Yi Park • Robert Pinsky • Kevin Prufer • Ed Roberson • Vijay Seshadri • Alan Shapiro • Myra Shapiro • Bruce Smith • Charlie Smith • Maura Stanton • Ruth Stone • James Tate • William Tremblay • Natasha Trethewey • David Wagoner • Ronald Wallace • Lewis Warsh • Susan Wheeler • Richard Wilbur • C. K. Williams • Terence Winch • David Wojahn Robert Wrigley • Anna Ziegler • Ahmos Zu-Bolton II

30 review for The Best American Poetry 2003 (Best American Poetry)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Glen

    I like Komunyakaa's work a lot and so I was excited to read this compilation he edited, dated as it is (but hey, poetry is timeless, right?), and I was not disappointed. There were a few of the "whew! Too cryptic for my tastes" variety, and I couldn't bring myself to appreciate the ones that dealt with the 9/11 mass murders, but there were many, many others that I greatly enjoyed, though I think my favorite was Terence Winch's tongue-in-cheek, "My Work", which includes the line, "It's always dan I like Komunyakaa's work a lot and so I was excited to read this compilation he edited, dated as it is (but hey, poetry is timeless, right?), and I was not disappointed. There were a few of the "whew! Too cryptic for my tastes" variety, and I couldn't bring myself to appreciate the ones that dealt with the 9/11 mass murders, but there were many, many others that I greatly enjoyed, though I think my favorite was Terence Winch's tongue-in-cheek, "My Work", which includes the line, "It's always dangerous to underestimate my work/I insult the intellectual dignity of the French."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Greta

    Yusel Komunyakaa brings together a wide variety of perspectives in this best of collection. Smart man with good taste in poems. Nice heard out loud, thanks to my dear husband.

  3. 4 out of 5

    B.

    Overall, I would give this collection a B average (technically an 85.6% avg.) as far as the quality of the poems contained. I know that attempting to quantify poetic effect/value is a ridiculous gesture, but I am simply a ridiculous person. Of course, this is purely based off of my own tastes and will not necessarily reflect your average satisfaction rate. I started a mission in October of 2016 to read the entire Best American Poetry series so that I can begin to get a better sense of (A) what m Overall, I would give this collection a B average (technically an 85.6% avg.) as far as the quality of the poems contained. I know that attempting to quantify poetic effect/value is a ridiculous gesture, but I am simply a ridiculous person. Of course, this is purely based off of my own tastes and will not necessarily reflect your average satisfaction rate. I started a mission in October of 2016 to read the entire Best American Poetry series so that I can begin to get a better sense of (A) what my taste in poetry is, and (B) my own poetic voice. This volume was a massive improvement from the 2004 edition I had read before this. Obviously, this is more than likely an indicator that Mr. Komunyakaa and I have similar tastes in poetry; it must walk the line between pleasurable reading and intellectual challenges with grace. This was evident from a telling moment in his introduction: "[...] any experimentation not in service of meaning is anti-poetry." While I am not entirely on board with this quote, I think that it expresses the general taste for modern poetry quite accurately. I am not the kind of pretentious reader who will accuse a poet who actually sells more than a dozen books like Billy Collins of being overrated or "taking up air" in a BAP collection, but I am also not the reader who does not want to be assigned extra reading by a poem that actually makes it worthwhile to dig into its obscure allusions. In any case, I recommend this volume, perhaps as a starter for readers who want to crack into the alternatingly frustrating/confounding and rewarding/beautiful world of the Best America Poetry series. Masterpieces (8) Wendell Berry, Some Further Words Billy Collins, Litany Stuart Dybek, Journal Charles Fort, The Vagrant Hours Michael Goldman, Report on Human Beings Mark Halliday, The Opaque Galway Kinnell, When the Towers Fell Natasha Trethewey, After Your Death Masterful (9) Edward Hirsch, The Desire Manuscripts Tony Hoagland, Summer Night Joy Katz, Some Rain Kenneth Koch, Proverb Kevin Prufer, What the Paymaster Said Maura Stanton, Translating James Tate, The Restaurant Business Ronald Wallace, In a Rut Terence Winch, My Work Masters Candidates (11) Frank Bidart, Curse James Galvin, Ponderosa Amy Gerstler, An Offer Received in This Morning's Mail Ray Gonzalez, Max Jacob's Shoes Brigit Pegeen Kelly, The Dragon Jennifer L. Knox, Love Blooms at Chimsbury After the War Ishle Yi Park, Queen Min Bi William Tremblay, The Lost Boy Richard Wilbur, Man Running David Wojahn, Scrabble with Matthews Anna Ziegler, After the Opening, 1932 Overall, I would absolutely to highly recommend approx. 37% of the poems contained in this volume.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Marc Kohlman

    Rich with many gratifying and engrossing selections. This edition certainly spoke many volumes of the year it was published.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brendan

    Good collection of poetry. 167 pages - 75 poems addressing a wide variety of topics. I preferred David Lehman's Foreword to Yusef Komunyakaa's Introduction. The latter got a bit boring. Anyway, a few poems worth noting here: "Litany" - Billy Collins - a metaphor-driven piece "Fox Trot Fridays" - Rita Dove "Journal" - Stuart Dybek "Some Rain" - Joy Katz - a lot of historical references "In a Rut" - Ronald Wallace - a comedic piece that uses the names of various animals to describe human behavior "After Good collection of poetry. 167 pages - 75 poems addressing a wide variety of topics. I preferred David Lehman's Foreword to Yusef Komunyakaa's Introduction. The latter got a bit boring. Anyway, a few poems worth noting here: "Litany" - Billy Collins - a metaphor-driven piece "Fox Trot Fridays" - Rita Dove "Journal" - Stuart Dybek "Some Rain" - Joy Katz - a lot of historical references "In a Rut" - Ronald Wallace - a comedic piece that uses the names of various animals to describe human behavior "After the Opening, 1932" - Anna Ziegler - about Edward Hopper The poet-professor in corduroy cuffed pants daydreamed of his evening flask of black whiskey his nightwatch over the hourglass of metaphors. - "The Vagrant Hours"- Charles Fort but I was unprepared for the Siren lolling on a bed in a dirty room above a tavern where workers guzzled sour red wine and played their cards late into the night - "The Desire Manuscripts" - Edward Hirsch I think the absence of color is like a life without love. - "A History of Color" - Stanley Moss

  6. 4 out of 5

    Wes Hazard

    No one's going to like every single piece included in here, but with around 75 of Yusef Komunyakka's selections of the best verse from an entire calendar year it's hard to not give this 5 stars (as is the case with most editions of "The Best American…" -- no matter the genre or volume editor.) You might not be the hugest fan of "Thieves in the Temple", but that doesn't mean you wouldn't recommend "The Very Best of Prince" compilation album to everyone who likes music right? Same thing here. Highl No one's going to like every single piece included in here, but with around 75 of Yusef Komunyakka's selections of the best verse from an entire calendar year it's hard to not give this 5 stars (as is the case with most editions of "The Best American…" -- no matter the genre or volume editor.) You might not be the hugest fan of "Thieves in the Temple", but that doesn't mean you wouldn't recommend "The Very Best of Prince" compilation album to everyone who likes music right? Same thing here. Highlights for me included: --Wendell Berry's "Some Further Words" --Catherine Bowman's "1000 lines" (selections) --Joshua Clover's "Aeon Flux: June" --Billy Collins' "Litany" --Michael Goldman's "Report on Human Beings" --Galway Kinnell's "When The Towers Fell" And a bunch more. Bottom line: Try it, you'll find a lot you'll like.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    A few good poems, here and there. On the whole, though, it feels like it was shaped more by the tastes of the editor than by an objective sense (if there is such a thing) of the "Best American Poetry." A few good poems, here and there. On the whole, though, it feels like it was shaped more by the tastes of the editor than by an objective sense (if there is such a thing) of the "Best American Poetry."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Eric Phetteplace

    if this is the best a whole year of poetry can offer, we're in trouble. Even the ones by the big figures of American poetry (Hoagland, Pinsky, Gluck, Bidart) fall mostly flat. if this is the best a whole year of poetry can offer, we're in trouble. Even the ones by the big figures of American poetry (Hoagland, Pinsky, Gluck, Bidart) fall mostly flat.

  9. 5 out of 5

    SmarterLilac

    Magnificent. One of the high points of this series.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Julie Kim

    This has two of my favorite poems, "Queen Min Bee" by Ishle Yi Park and "Litany" by Billy Collins. This has two of my favorite poems, "Queen Min Bee" by Ishle Yi Park and "Litany" by Billy Collins.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    3.5 stars

  12. 4 out of 5

    Zachary

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mark Jenkins

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Fellhauer

  15. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

  16. 4 out of 5

    Talia

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

  18. 4 out of 5

    Deanna Zandt

  19. 4 out of 5

    Miles

  20. 5 out of 5

    juliet

  21. 4 out of 5

    Douglas

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Barron

  23. 4 out of 5

    Fran Blake

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jazz

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  28. 5 out of 5

    Maura Badji

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  30. 5 out of 5

    Matt Allen

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