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The Three That Speak to Us: “Eating Walnuts,” “There are Birds Here,” and “Anxieties”

This year my partner and I looked through The Best American Poetry 2015 and narrowed it down to three poems we feel strongly about.  The purpose of this assignment is to get high school students to take a look at these poems because we feel these three poems say something worthwhile to our generation. In…

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The Great Poem Series: Donald Hall’s “Her Garden”

Donald Hall’s poem “Her Garden” is published in the 2001 Edition of The Best American Poetry. The poem describes a dying garden, slightly melancholy, but implies some sort of release that was holding him back. What stood out to me first about this poem was the amount of imagery embedded in each stanza. For example,…

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Completely Subjective: Alan Bernheimer’s “20 Questions”

Ever since I can remember, I have always been a very curious child. Why is the sky blue? How do fireflies make light? Do dogs see color or black and white? These are all questions I would constantly ask my mom, hoping she would have an answer that would blow my mind. Most of the…

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Completely Subjective: Daisy Fried’s “This Need Not Be a Comment on Death”

By the time my grandmother started handing out her lladros, her memory was already erratic at best. I gathered with my sister and cousins in their squat living room, prepared to accept the heirlooms dutifully as if sworn to protect a legacy encased within the tiny figures. While granted, I was a relatively emotional child, I…

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“Almost”: An Interview With Rae Armantrout

Rae Armantrout, who is from California and a current poetry professor at UC San Diego, is a prolific member of the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets, a group that arose in the late 1960s and emphasized a poem’s use of language, often employing stylistic techniques not seen in mainstream poetry to do so. She has received significant recognition…

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The Three That Speak to Us: “Do Unto Others,” “Country Western Singer,” “Dead Critics Society”

Daniel Johnson’s “Do Unto Others,” Alan Shapiro’s “Country Western Singer,” and Mike Dockins’ “Dead Critics Society” are three of the greatest, most thought-provoking poems featured in Best American Poetry’s 2007 edition. Nick and I read each poem in the volume looking for underlying themes, tone shifts, creative new ways of conveying messages, and other characteristics to narrow down the…

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Six Questions: An Interview With Christian Bök

Christian Bök is a renowned modern poet that hails from Toronto, Canada. “Vowels,” featured in the 2007 version of Best American Poetry, is arguably his most well-known poem. Mr. Bök spends most of his time as a professor at University of Calgary, but still writes poetry as often as he can. Nick Trager and I conducted an interview…

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The Great Poem Series: Cate Marvin’s “An Etiquette for Eyes”

Featured in the 2014 edition of Best American Poetry, Cate Marvin’s, “An Etiquette for Eyes”, analyzes a man with blues eyes who the speaker, a brown-eyed woman, had tried to win over in a bar. In it she reveals the pain she feels from her breakup with her past partner. I view the poem almost…

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Completely Subjective: Jericho Brown’s “Hustle”

As I looked through the 2013 edition of Best American Poetry in search of a poem to write about, Jericho Brown’s “Hustle” caught my eye because there was so much of it that I did not understand upon my first reading, and I wanted to figure it out. It is a brutally honest commentary on life as…

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Completely Subjective: Krista Benjamin’s “Letters From My Ancestors”

American writer and poet Krista Benjamin grew up in Lake Tahoe, CA, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Literature from the University of California in San Diego. Benjamin spent the early part of her career writing and publishing for various literary magazines, journals, and newspapers around the California/Nevada region. Later, Benjamin was awarded with an Artist Fellowship from…

“Take Yourself Seriously”: Another Five Questions with Stephen Dunn

Stephen Dunn was born in 1939 in Queens, New York and went to college at Hofstra University where he played basketball on a scholarship. After college, Dunn worked in the advertising business. After a few years in the business, Dunn decided to quit his job and traveled to Spain to write his first novel along…

“Art Can Do That”: Seven Questions for Philip Metres

Philip Metres was born July 4th, 1970 in San Diego, and grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. He graduated from Holy Cross College in 1992, then went on to receive a Ph.D. in English and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Indiana University. He is now a professor of English at John Carroll University…

“A Good List”: An Interview with Brad Leithauser

Even though Brad Leithauser attended Harvard Law and had a career as a lawyer, he never lost his love of poetry, one that began in high school. He then traveled to Japan to work in a law office but wrote while he was there. He never was really as interested in law as he was…

A Renowned Poetic Voice: An Interview with Matthew Zapruder

Matthew Zapruder is an American poet, editor, translator, and professor who was born in Washington D.C.. He studied Russian Literature at Amherst College and then received an MA in Slavic Languages from the University of California, Berkeley as well as an MFA in Poetry at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His works are very well-regarded…

“It’s Always Better to Read Between the Lines”: An Interview with Susan Terris

Susan Terris was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Mrs. Terris achieved her college education at Wellesley where she received her B.A. degree in English Literature and at San Francisco State University where she received her M.A. degree. In her early career she published several books including Ghost of Yesterday: New and Selected Poems.  The Homelessness…

“Minding Rights”: Five Questions with David Yezzi

I decided to research the poet, David Yezzi, because I really enjoyed his poem, “Minding Rights.” I found this poem in my Best American Poetry book, and decided to further research David Yezzi and learn more about his career and literary background. David Yezzi was born in Albany, New York and received a bachelor’s degree…