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The Best American Poetry series is a beloved mainstay of American poetry. This year's edition was edited by one of the most admired and acclaimed poets of his generation, Charles Wright. Known for his meditative and beautiful observations of landscape, change, and time,Wright brings his particular sensibility to this year's anthology, which contains an ecumenical slant that is unprecedented for the series. He has gathered an astonishing selection of work that includes new poems by Carolyn Forché, Jorie Graham, Louise Glück, Frank Bidart, Frederick Seidel, Patti Smith, and Kevin Young and showcases a dazzling array of rising stars like Joshua Beckman, Erica Dawson, and Alex Lemon. With captivating and revelatory notes from the poets on their works and sage and erudite introductory essays by Wright and series editor David Lehman, The Best American Poetry 2008 will be read, discussed, debated, and prized for years to come.
These are poems suffused with spiritual longing, lyrical meditations on faith, religion, heritage, and morality that also explore aging and mortality with restless grace. Entering by way of small moments, Wright magnifies details to reveal a truth much larger than the quotidian happening that engendered it.
Co-winner of the 1983 National Book Award for Poetry, Country Music is comprised of eighty-eight poems selected from Charles Wright's first four books published between 1970 and 1977. From his first book, The Grave of the Right Hand, to the extraordinary China Trace, this selection of early works represents "Charles Wright's grand passions: his desire to reclaim and redeem a personal past, to make a reckoning with his present, and to conjure the terms by which we might face the future," writes David St. John in the forward. These poems, powerful and moving in their own right, lend richness and insight to Wright's recently collected later works. "In Country Music we see the same explosive imagery, the same dismantled and concentric (or parallel) narratives, the same resolutely spiritual concerns that have become so familiar to us in Wright's more recent poetry," writes St. John.
Co-winner of the 1983 National Book Award for Poetry, "Country Music" is comprised of eighty-eight poems selected from Charles Wright's first four books published between 1970 and 1977. These poems, powerful and moving in their own right, lend richness and insight to Wright's recently collected later works.