Since its debut in 1988, The Best American Poetry series has showcased seventy-five poems annually, continuing to bring our most radiant and inventive writing to an ever increasing audience. This year's edition, selected and introduced by guest editor Adrienne Rich, celebrates the dazzling multiplicity of American poetry today.

Culled from over forty periodicals that range from leading journals like The New Yorker and The Paris Review to vibrant little magazines like Lingo and Many Mountains Moving, Rich's selections reflect her strong commitment to social justice, human community and the voices of poets outside the literary mainstream. More African-American, Native American, Asian-American, Latino, and gay and lesbian poets are represented here than ever before, and their pieces weave a lush and exquisite tapestry of thought and feeling. This year's volume includes well-established poets — Margaret Atwood, Stanley Kunitz, and W.S. Merwin among them — as well as vital newer voices like Alberto Ríos, Wang Ping, Carl Phillips, and Suzanne Gardinier. From Latif Asad Abdullah's "The Tombs" to Ray A. Young Bear's "Our Bird Aegis," The Best American Poetry 1996 explores and illuminates a rich array of themes and forms, all drawing from the deep wells of American life and culture.

Now in its ninth year, The Best American Poetry is universally acclaimed as the best anthology in the field. "It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there," William Carlos Williams wrote. Readers hungry for news that stays news will cherish The Best American Poetry 1996.

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