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Best of the Best American Poetry

Best of the Best American Poetry

25th Anniversary Edition

Edited by: David Lehman / Foreword by: Robert Pinsky
This special edition celebrates twenty-five years of the Best American Poetry series, which has become an institution. From its inception in 1988, it has been hotly debated, keenly monitored, ardently advocated (or denounced), and obsessively scrutinized. Each volume consists of seventy-five poems chosen by a major American poet acting as guest editor—from John Ashbery in 1988 to Mark Doty in 2012, with stops along the way for such poets as Charles Simic, A. R. Ammons, Louise Glück, Adrienne Rich, Billy Collins, Heather McHugh, and Kevin Young. Out of the 1,875 poems that have appeared in The Best American Poetry, here are 100 that Robert Pinsky, the distinguished poet and man of letters, has chosen for this milestone edition.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451658880 | 
  • April 2013
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

JONATHAN AARON

Dance Mania

In 1027, not far from Bernburg,

eighteen peasants were seized

by a common delusion.

Holding hands, they circled for hours

in a churchyard, haunted by visions,

spirits whose names they called in terror or welcome,

until an angry priest cast a spell on them

for disrupting his Christmas service,

and they sank into the frozen earth

up to their knees. In 1227

on a road to Darmstadt, scores of children

danced and jumped in a shared delirium.

Some saw devils, others the Savior enthrone
d
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