By December 8, 2010 2 Comments Read More →

The Best American Poetry 2010

I will admit it.  I am poetry impaired.

To challenge my shortcomings, I tackled the latest volume in the Best American Poetry series.  The rest of the poetry world can enlighten me, but one of the delightful discoveries I made for myself is that a lot of poetry (or at least a lot of poetry selected for this volume) scans like a short story. 

I am not sure if one of the main reasons I am poetry impaired is the structure, but it appears that structure is less important these days.  Instead, there is a narrative flow in these poems that carries the same emotional impact as the elements reader’s advisory librarians search for in fiction.

That made me wonder if any one has success with a poetry discussion?  I think this work could be a wonderful way to get a group together to exchange their opinions and impressions on the works selected. 

For me, this was a growth experience.  It can be best summed up by sharing with you one of the Four “Addresses” written by poet Peter Davis contained in this work.

This one is called:

 Poems Addressing People With Certain Expectations About Poetry That Are Not Fulfilled In This Poem.




About the Author:

Gary Niebuhr is the author of Make Mine a Mystery (2003), Caught up in Crime (2009), and other readers' guides to mystery and detective fiction. He was a Booklist contributor from 2008-2014.

2 Comments on "The Best American Poetry 2010"

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  1. misha says:

    The Seattle Public Library has a Poetry group that meets weekly to discuss poems. The poems are provided–usually one or two each week–and are read and discussed in the hour the group meets. They’ve been together a long time. It’s a very accessible group that includes a lot of regular members but allows for drop-ins. Poets have sometimes come to visit the group as well. There is a lot you can do with a poetry-focused book group!

  2.' bloof books says:

    Pete’s got lots more terrific (funny) poems like that in his new book, Poetry! Poetry! Poetry!, available here:

    Gary, if you’d like a copy, just email us your address.

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