Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

David Lehman and The Best American Poetry 1996

His guest editors include John Ashbery, Mark Strand, Charles Simic, Louise Gluck, and Richard Howard

David Lehman: was Lionel Trilling’s graduate assistant at Columbia University
David Lehman: was Lionel Trilling’s graduate assistant at Columbia University

Editor: David Lehman was born in New York City in 1948. He graduated from Columbia College in 1970 and attended Cambridge University from 1970 to 1972. He received a doctorate at Columbia University, where he was Lionel Trilling’s graduate assistant. He is the author of three books of poems, including Valentine Place (Scribner, 1996). His prose books include Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man, The Big Question, and The Perfect Murder (a book anyone interested in mysteries should own). He was recently named general editor of the University of Michigan Press’s Poets on Poetry series (Donald Hall formerly held this position) and is on the core faculty of the graduate writing program at Bennington College. He also teaches at Columbia and the New School for Social Research. He lives in Ithaca, New York, and New York City, and is currently at work on a book about the New York School of poets and painters.

The Best American Poetry 1996; series editor, David Lehman; 1996’s editor, Adrienne Rich; Scribner, 1996; $13 paper, $27.50, cloth; 318 pages

Now in its ninth year, The Best American Poetry 1996 annually presents 75 new poems chosen by the series’ guest editor as his or her favorites of the previous year. Rich writes, about this year’s choices: “I wanted poems from 1995 that were more durable and daring than ever — not drawn from the headlines but able to resist the headlines and the shattering of morale behind them.” Rich has brought together poems by more women, African American, Asian American, Native American, Latino, and gay and lesbian poets than in any of the previous volumes. (Local poets Marilyn Chin and Luis Urrea are in this volume.)

On the morning we talked, I asked Mr. Lehman how he happened to start the series.

“I had the idea in 1987. Ihad just moved to the house in Ithaca where I am now sitting. I was driving back to the old rental to pick up houseplants. On the way over it occurred to me there wasn’t a yearly ‘best of’ book devoted to American poetry, although there were such books devoted to short stories and essays. 1 thought there was plenty of poetry of high quality and eclectic range that would justify such a volume.

“I always thought it was good luck that 1 had this idea the day after I moved into my house. The coincidence could not be written off — starting fresh and having a wonderful idea at the same time. We — my agent and I — had a dickens of a time interesting a publisher, because most publishers feel poetry is a losing proposition, financially. An editor at Scribner signed it, but not with great expectations. They thought they would be lucky to sell 5000 copies. But that first 1988 book went back to press three times and suddenly, we were in business.”

And how did he happen to come up with the idea of having guest editors? (These have been John Ashbery, Donald Hall, Jorie Graham, Mark Strand, Charles Simic, Louise Gluck, A.R. Ammons, and Richard Howard.)

“1 felt that I could serve as the series’ editor and provide continuity, a constant. I would be there year after year. A guest editor would be the variant, so the volumes would be different, one from another. The series would also be a record of the tastes of our leading poets. John Ashbery will have a different view of what the best poetry is from Adrienne Rich, and both will differ from Louise Gluck. In this way people who are interested in Ashbery will be interested in that volume in particular. People interested in A.R. Ammons will be interested in that volume. So there is an extra dimension to the series: it also chronicles the taste of our best poets.

“I want the books to have a lot to commend them beyond the poems themselves. The 75 poems are of course the center of the book, but we want also to have a foreword by me that can provide a context, that gives an idea of what happened in poetry this year, and an essay in which the guest editor propounds his or her criteria. We want a very rich apparatus in the back of the book where the poets have biographical sketches and talk about their poems. We also provide a list of magazines from which the poems were chosen. If you like what you’ve read that’s appeared in the Green Mountains Review or Boulevard, you can subscribe or you can submit your poems to that magazine. We hope that the book will serve a kind of Writer’s Digest or Literary Marketplace function for a poet.”

What did the guest editors read to make their choices?

“We get complimentary subscriptions to as many publications as we can for the guest editors. In addition, I read voluminously and pick out things that I like or think that the editor will like and send off packets at regular intervals. We try to be ecumenical and to include works across the board from all movements and regions. More than three dozen magazines are represented in the 1996 volume. American poetry is often regarded as a faction-ridden, conflict-filled arena, and it was my sense years ago and still my sense today that poems from diverse directions can coexist to their mutual enhancement in a single volume. I believe that truly.”

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

No longer a David, Stone Brewing recast as a Goliath

The foe of big beer tangles with small breweries over trademarks, including a local IPA
David Lehman: was Lionel Trilling’s graduate assistant at Columbia University
David Lehman: was Lionel Trilling’s graduate assistant at Columbia University

Editor: David Lehman was born in New York City in 1948. He graduated from Columbia College in 1970 and attended Cambridge University from 1970 to 1972. He received a doctorate at Columbia University, where he was Lionel Trilling’s graduate assistant. He is the author of three books of poems, including Valentine Place (Scribner, 1996). His prose books include Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man, The Big Question, and The Perfect Murder (a book anyone interested in mysteries should own). He was recently named general editor of the University of Michigan Press’s Poets on Poetry series (Donald Hall formerly held this position) and is on the core faculty of the graduate writing program at Bennington College. He also teaches at Columbia and the New School for Social Research. He lives in Ithaca, New York, and New York City, and is currently at work on a book about the New York School of poets and painters.

The Best American Poetry 1996; series editor, David Lehman; 1996’s editor, Adrienne Rich; Scribner, 1996; $13 paper, $27.50, cloth; 318 pages

Now in its ninth year, The Best American Poetry 1996 annually presents 75 new poems chosen by the series’ guest editor as his or her favorites of the previous year. Rich writes, about this year’s choices: “I wanted poems from 1995 that were more durable and daring than ever — not drawn from the headlines but able to resist the headlines and the shattering of morale behind them.” Rich has brought together poems by more women, African American, Asian American, Native American, Latino, and gay and lesbian poets than in any of the previous volumes. (Local poets Marilyn Chin and Luis Urrea are in this volume.)

On the morning we talked, I asked Mr. Lehman how he happened to start the series.

“I had the idea in 1987. Ihad just moved to the house in Ithaca where I am now sitting. I was driving back to the old rental to pick up houseplants. On the way over it occurred to me there wasn’t a yearly ‘best of’ book devoted to American poetry, although there were such books devoted to short stories and essays. 1 thought there was plenty of poetry of high quality and eclectic range that would justify such a volume.

“I always thought it was good luck that 1 had this idea the day after I moved into my house. The coincidence could not be written off — starting fresh and having a wonderful idea at the same time. We — my agent and I — had a dickens of a time interesting a publisher, because most publishers feel poetry is a losing proposition, financially. An editor at Scribner signed it, but not with great expectations. They thought they would be lucky to sell 5000 copies. But that first 1988 book went back to press three times and suddenly, we were in business.”

And how did he happen to come up with the idea of having guest editors? (These have been John Ashbery, Donald Hall, Jorie Graham, Mark Strand, Charles Simic, Louise Gluck, A.R. Ammons, and Richard Howard.)

“1 felt that I could serve as the series’ editor and provide continuity, a constant. I would be there year after year. A guest editor would be the variant, so the volumes would be different, one from another. The series would also be a record of the tastes of our leading poets. John Ashbery will have a different view of what the best poetry is from Adrienne Rich, and both will differ from Louise Gluck. In this way people who are interested in Ashbery will be interested in that volume in particular. People interested in A.R. Ammons will be interested in that volume. So there is an extra dimension to the series: it also chronicles the taste of our best poets.

“I want the books to have a lot to commend them beyond the poems themselves. The 75 poems are of course the center of the book, but we want also to have a foreword by me that can provide a context, that gives an idea of what happened in poetry this year, and an essay in which the guest editor propounds his or her criteria. We want a very rich apparatus in the back of the book where the poets have biographical sketches and talk about their poems. We also provide a list of magazines from which the poems were chosen. If you like what you’ve read that’s appeared in the Green Mountains Review or Boulevard, you can subscribe or you can submit your poems to that magazine. We hope that the book will serve a kind of Writer’s Digest or Literary Marketplace function for a poet.”

What did the guest editors read to make their choices?

“We get complimentary subscriptions to as many publications as we can for the guest editors. In addition, I read voluminously and pick out things that I like or think that the editor will like and send off packets at regular intervals. We try to be ecumenical and to include works across the board from all movements and regions. More than three dozen magazines are represented in the 1996 volume. American poetry is often regarded as a faction-ridden, conflict-filled arena, and it was my sense years ago and still my sense today that poems from diverse directions can coexist to their mutual enhancement in a single volume. I believe that truly.”

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

The glamour and crime of Tijuana

Club Campestre abduction, cross-border prostitution, Russian-owned gym, TJ's new night scene
Next Article

Three poems for August by Dorothy Parker

With an acidic wit and keen eye for flawed humanity
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close