Poets George Bradley, John Hollander, Richard Howard, Ann Lauterbach and Susan Wheeler, along with series editor David Lehman, will celebrate the publication of The Best of the Best American Poetry 1988-1997 (Scribner) on Thursday, April 9, 8 p.m., at New York University. The book marks the tenth anniversary of The Best American Poetry Anthology, a series edited by Lehman; it is being published to coincide with National Poetry Month. This volume contains 75 poems chosen as “the best of the best” by one of America’s foremost critics, Harold Bloom. Bloom is also Berg Professor of English at NYU and Sterling Professor of the Humanities at Yale University.
Free and open to the public, this event will take place at NYU’s Main Building, 100 Washington Square East (at Waverly Place), room 703, and will feature readings by the poets (all of whom are represented in “The Best of the Best”) from the works collected in this volume. The evening is hosted by the NYU College of Arts and Science.
For the past decade, a distinguished poet has selected 75 of the best poems for publication in the annual Best American Poetry; these poets have included John Ashbery, Donald Hall, Richard Howard, and Adrienne Rich. In his “Introduction” to The Best of the Best Bloom presents a provocative essay on the state of poetry today: “It is ironical that, in this bad time, American poetry is of a higher quality than our criticism or teaching of poetry,” he writes.
David Lehman, series editor, attended Cambridge University as a Kellitt Fellow and went on to receive his doctorate in English at Columbia University, where he was Lionel Trilling’s research assistant. He is the author of three books of poems, including Valentine Place and Operation Memory. His prose books include Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man and The Big Question. He is the general editor of the University of Michigan’s Poets on Poetry series.
George Bradley is the author of three volumes of poetry, The Fire Fetched Down, the title poem of which is represented in this volume; Of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and Terms to Be Met. He is the editor of the Yale Younger Poets Anthology, forthcoming this year from Yale University Press.
John Hollander, born in 1929, has published 17 books of poetry both here and abroad, the most recent being Tesserae and Other Poems and Selected Poetry. He has won the Bollingen Prize, the Levinson Prize, and a MacArthur Fellowship. He is the A. Bartlett Giamatti Professor of English at Yale.
Richard Howard’s most recent volume of poetry is Like Most Revelations; he is at work on his eleventh volume, Trappings. He has translated more than 150 works from the French and received the American Book Award for his translation of Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal.
Ann Lauterbach, recipient of both Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundation fellowships, is the author of 13 books including several collaborations with artists and five poetry collections, the most recent of which is On a Stair. She is currently Theodore Goodman Professor of Creative Writing and Modern Poetry at City College and the Graduate Center in New York City.
Susan Wheeler is the author of Bag `o’ Diamonds (1993), selected by James Tate to receive the Norma Farber First Book Award of the Poetry Society of America. Her forthcoming collection Smokes has been chosen by Robert Hass for the Four Ways Book Award. She teaches in the graduate creative writing program at the New School and at NYU.