The Best American Poetry, Annotated

Studio 360

There aren't a lot of bestsellers in the poetry world, but the annual Best American Poetry anthology probably comes closest. It's an easy choice for the poetry fan on your list, although its editors tend to err on the side of the safe, staid, and inoffensive. The Academy of American Poetsnotes that "The series and its editors are often criticized for their selections and assessments (common complaints include the exclusion of experimental poets, lack of diversity, and allegiance to poetry's 'old guard')." And if you're a poetry reader, you might have mixed feelings about a greatest-hits approach to one of our culture's most marginalized art forms.

So imagine how an actual, non-famous poet feels. Tax your imagination no longer, because Brooklyn-based poetJim Behrle has aTumblr that will let you know exactly how he feels. He takes individual poems from the anthology and decorates them with snide comments in word balloons coming from a recurring cast of cut-out characters, including cherubs, a man (Behrle himself?) in an elf costume, Dracula, and several small dogs.

Dating this blog post is like dating a can of Tecate

Jim Behrle is not a fan of this poem about online dating.

He's mean, he's funny, his grapes are more than a little bit sour, and he perfectly skewers the self-seriousness of a certain annual anthology series --- and, maybe, the whole idea of crowning a handful of poems as the "best." As Behrle (via an excited poodle) sarcastically says,"What is the point of poetry if it is not best? All poets come in tied for last."

No beer in Sideshow, only Olde English

Do not offer a poet free beer unless you're going to follow through.

Of course, there's plenty of good poetry in Best American Poetry. But it's always more fun at the back of the class, in the company of a very bright smart aleck.