The Best American Poetry 2000 (ISBN 0-7432-0033-0), a volume in The Best American Poetry series, was edited by David Lehman and by guest editor Rita Dove.
In her introduction, Dove defended the idea that poets should be politically committed: "e poets cannot afford to shit ourselves away in our convalescent homes, boning our specialized fools, while the barbarians — no matter if they are religious fanatics, materialistic profitmongers, crazy silver-tongued niggas sleeping in libraries, or merely more talented MFA drop-outs who actually care about 'art' — continue to sharpen their broadswords. Stepping into the fray of life does not mean dissipation of one's creative powers The reward is a connection on a visceral level with the world ."
Speaking of her selection process, Dove indicated that once potential selections had been identified, either via her own reading or as submitted to her by the series editor, David Lehman, "y method was simple: Read the poems without looking at the author's name, if possible, and put aside for further consideration only those pieces which made me catch my breath (then, look back at the names and decide from there). The final criterion was Emily Dickinson's famed description--if I felt the top of my head had been taken off, the poem was in. And in the lofty words of Billy Collins, 'This music is loud yet so confidential./ I cannot help feeling even more/ like the center of the universe'."
Michael Shannon Friedman, reviewing the book in The Charleston Gazette, noted that Dove had admitted the "subjectivity" of her selections, and observed that, in his own view, the year's best selections were poems by Barbara Hamby, Thomas Lux, Stanly Plumly, Susan Wood and Mary Oliver.
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