Member Reviews

Fantastic, broad ranging showcase of poetry and different poetic voices in 2023 from various sources.

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I've read and owned many "Best American Poetry" books in the collection over the years, but I have to say this one is the best I've read. It contains numerous terrific poems with different styles, some well know authors and some not, and most of these poems are those kinds of poems you want to dog-ear the pages on and re-read again & again! I will be buying a paperback copy as soon as this book is released and look forward to reading them again for many years.

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This anthology certainly does contain what could be considered the "best" poems. The poems are either thoughtful or fun, and the vastness of topics and styles means that there is something for everyone. The introductions were fantastic and set up what to expect quite well, and I enjoyed the discussions about poetry and appreciated the thoughts on AI and what that means for the arts. This book is a needed addition to poetry lovers and would make teaching poetry to the next generation easier.

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I have always read the Best American Poetry, since its inception, and I buy the book every year. This edition is a treat, with a varied group of poets and poems and poetic forms,

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I’ve been reading this series off and on for thirty years and this is my favorite edition by far. This year’s editor picked so many poems that I really enjoyed. So often in the past most of the poems have seemed overly academic, pretentious, odd, or (forgive me) boring, and I had pretty much given up on ever enjoying these books. I marked so many poems in this year’s to come back to, though. I am definitely a fan of Mary Jo Salter as an editor.

As examples, here is the end of Julia Alvarez’s Amenorrhea:

Month after month
I neither bleed nor bear.
This woman’s barrenness
revives the poet’s fear—
the line stops here.

Or Billy Collins’ poem, The Monet Conundrum:

Is every one of these poems
different from the others,
he asked himself,
as the rain quieted down,

or are they all the same poem,
haystack after haystack
at different times of day,
different shadows and shades of hay?

If I could only own one year’s anthology, this would definitely be my pick.

I read a digital ARC of this book for review.

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Every year brings a new guest editor for this anthology, so what you take away largely depends on that editor’s tastes and preferences. Unfortunately, Mary Jo Salter and I don’t seem to have similar tastes at all. Here you will find many meandering, longwinded (not the same as long, necessarily) poems with prose-like tendences. Many poems felt just like a lineated stream-of-consciousness. Many poems felt like they could be plucked out of someone’s journal, as is, unedited. Many poems about New York. Many poems about the process of writing and writers (or other artists). Everything here felt incredibly insular, like the world of these poems was so very small; I desperately kept wanting them to look outward. This feels especially egregious in the year 2024. I’m just so disappointed here at the lack of urgency, texture, and imagination, as I feel like I am constantly reading wonderfully evocative poems elsewhere literally every day.

This year’s anthology also seems to be a classic instance of publishing poets rather than poems—nearly all the writers included are already very well-established. Even the “new” poets that Salter highlights in her introduction were names I already knew. Come on.

Here are the few highlights that prevented me from giving this anthology one star:
“First Philosophy” by Joshua Bennett
“The Remnant” by Kwame Davis
“How to Fold” by Terrence Hayes
“Closure” by Omotara James
“Sentimental Evening” by Natale Scenters-Zapico
“The Days” by Adrienne Su
“The Field Is Hot and Hotter” by Claire Wahmanholm
“Ashkenazi Birthmark” by Michael Waters

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This begins with essays from the editors celebrating Keats and Dickinson. But this is 2024, you cry! Surely there are other influential poets who should be named! And surely this book should not contain so very much work by authors who are previously represented in other volumes of the series. But no. I guess it's like the Supreme Court: once you get in, you're in for life. And the zeitgeist seems to favor white authors. That said, there are some truly striking and original poems in the collection. Dip in and out of it, and see what strikes you as good.

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A really wonderful collection of poetry. I really enjoyed reading poetry by this wide variety of poets .A perfect collection to dip in and out of.#netgalley #scribner

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The Best American Poetry 2024 includes seventy-five poems chosen to showcase the vigor of American poetry. It was such a pleasure to read through so many poems with such ranges in subject matter and style. My favorite is "Apophasis at the All-Night Rite Aid" which begins with the poet's memory of being a young mother, and ends with the moon. Highly recommended for poets and lovers of poetry. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
#TheBestAmericanPoetry2024
#NetGalley

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A wonderful collection! The Best American Poetry 2024 collection featured a vast variety of poems, not only in terms of their styles, theming and length but also in terms of the poets who wrote them. This gave me the opportunity to read pieces I wouldn't normally, and to discover new styles. My favorite part of this collection is the author bios and insights at the end. Some poems had me compelled to turn to the end to hear more about who the poet who wrote it is, and why they did.

A must for any poetry fan.

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I find it so interesting how some poems capture your interest right away and some don’t. I don’t have enough experience with poetry to know the ins and outs of how each poem in this anthology was written, but there were definitely some that I loved. There’s some weird ones in here, too, ones that leave you scratching your head. There are a few that seem to be stream of consciousness about rather mundane things, and I found that I didn’t connect with those as much. There are a wide variety of poems here, so there’s something for everyone. I enjoyed making my way through this anthology.

Thank you to NetGalley and Scribner for an eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

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