Best American Poetry 2018 by Dana Gioia
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read a lot of poetry, a lot. But I learned a few things about the current state of poetry from this anthology of the Best American Poetry 2018, or at least I learned something about how I consume poetry differently than Dana Gioia, the editor, does.
1. Dana is a man. I have never read his work, and should.
2. There are more rhyming poems being produced in 2018 than I would have thought. Or is it that Dana Gioia is more drawn to rhyming poems? I felt like there were a lot of them in this anthology comparatively. Maybe we could ask the hero of The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker, who also loved rhyming poems (but saw them as something people no longer appreciated.)
3. Most of the poems Dana Gioia is consuming are coming from literary publications, where one poem from a poet is printed/published. Most of the poems I am consuming come from single-author collections, because I don't even try to keep up with the multiple publications and tend to pick collections based on reviews, publisher tables and deals at AWP, advanced reader copies in NetGalley and Edelweiss, award nominees, etc. These awards are for collections, not individual poems. But the poems getting anthologized are not necessarily in a collection... at least not yet. This is their infancy. As such I only had immediate recognition of two poems in this anthology, that I had probably read in actual collections and not where he got them from.
4. Instagram and Tumblr have gotten noticed. And Gioia chooses at least one poem that first came out in this format. Very 21st century of him.
My standouts include:
Against Dying by Kaveh Akbar (read on poets.org
"...I spent so long in a lover’s
quarrel with my flesh
the peace seems over-
Ghost Ship by Sonia Greenfield (read on Rattle)
Thanks to the publisher for giving me access to this title through Edelweiss. It's really gotten me thinking about how much an editor influences the selection in an anthology like this. It comes out 18 September 2018.
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