2011 SCARRIET AMERICAN POETRY REVIEW MARCH MADNESS BRACKETS ARE HERE! MYLES & KNOTT ARE IN!

EAST

1. JOHN ASHBERY— “LIMITED LIABILITY”
2. JAMES WRIGHT— “AND YET I KNOW”
3. ROBERT CREELEY— “BE OF GOOD CHEER”
4. JAMES TATE—  “DREAM ON”
5. STANLEY KUNITZ— “HORNWORM: AUTUMN LAMENTATION”
6. A.R.AMMONS— “WIDESPREAD IMPLICATIONS”
7. JACK SPICER— “A POEM WITHOUT A SINGLE BIRD IN IT”
8. BARBARA GUEST—“MOTION PICTURES: 4″
9. LARRY LEVIS— “FAMILY ROMANCE”
10. LESLIE SCALAPINO— “THAT THEY WERE AT THE BEACH PT.4″
11. DORIANNE LAUX— “THE LOVERS”
12. GREGORY CORSO— “30th YEAR DREAM”
13. CAROLYN CREEDON— “LITANY”
14. GILLIAN CONOLEY— “BECKON”
15. WILLIAM MATTHEWS— “GOOD COMPANY”
16. LISA LEWIS— “RESPONSIBILITY”

There’s some familiar names here from last year’s BAP March Madness: Ashbery, Ammons, Tate, and William Matthews—who advanced the farthest.  A strong grouping, but we’ll look for the usual upsets, because these top seeds: do they write poems consistently better than thousands of other poets?  No.  Big reps mean nothing when the bodies start bumping.  We like Leslie Scalapino, whose poem has a cinematic quality—it feels like a life is really happening as you read it, and few poems have that quality.  James Tate is another to put your money on.

NORTH

1. SEAMUS HEANEY— “AN IRON SPIKE”
2. PHILIP LARKIN— “AUBADE”
3. ROBERT BLY— “SNOWBANKS NORTH OF THE HOUSE”
4. DONALD JUSTICE— “IN MEMORY OF MY FRIEND THE BASSOONIST JOHN LENOX”
5. ANNE CARSON— “MY RELIGION”
6. ALAN DUGAN—“DRUNK MEMORIES OF ANNE SEXTON”
7. HOWARD NEMEROV— “IFF”
8. MICHAEL PALMER— “I DO NOT”
9. YUSEF KOMUNYAKAA— “FORGIVE AND LIVE”
10. DAVID IGNATOW— “EACH DAY”
11. HAYDEN CARRUTH— “QUALITY OF WINE”
12. MAURA STANTON— “THE VEILED LADY”
13. EDWARD FIELD— “WHATEVER BECAME OF FREUD”
14. BILL KNOTT— “MONODRAMA”
15. JOSEPH DEUMER— “THEORY OF TRAGEDY”
16. JACK MYERS— “THE EXPERTS”

The North Bracket seems to be all about the titles of the poems: solid, not too fancy, invoking the iconic and the important.  If you can get away with “Aubade,” do it.  We like Larkin in the no-nonsense North.  Iron spike, indeed.

SOUTH

1. ROBERT LOWELL— “SHIFTING COLORS”
2. ROBERT PENN WARREN— “NIGHT WALKING”
3. FRANK O’HARA— “TO JOHN ASHBERY ON SZYMANOWSKI’S BIRTHDAY”
4. CZESLAW MILOSZ— “ENCOUNTER”
5. SHARON OLDS— “THE REQUEST”
6. RICHARD HUGO— “LETTER TO BLESSING FROM MISSOULA”
7. STEPHEN DOBYNS— “ALLEGORICAL MATTERS”
8. NORMAN DUBIE— “SANCTUARY”
9. AMY GERSTLER— “SINKING FEELING”
10. JIM HARRISON— “LETTERS TO YESENIN #9 PAPER CLIPS”
11. TESS GALLAGHER— “THE HUG”
12. ROBIN BECKER— “A HISTORY OF SEXUAL PREFERANCE”
13. WILLIAM KULIK— “FICTIONS”
14. EILEEN MYLES— “EILEEN’S VISION”
15. JACK HIRSCHMAN— “THE PAINTING”
16. KAREN KIPP— “THE RAT”

The South has it all: an original New Critic, the poet for whom ‘confessional’ was coined, a New York School poet, a touring theoretical lesbian, and last year’s BAP editor.  We can’t wait for play to start in the South.

WEST

1. ALLEN GINSBERG— “THE CHARNEL GROUND”
2. DONALD HALL— “TO A WATERFOWL”
3. ROBERT HASS— “SPRING RAIN”
4. SYLVIA PLATH— “INCOMMUNICADO”
5. JAMES SCHUYLER—“RED BRICK AND BROWN STONE”
6. REED WHITTEMORE— “SMILING THROUGH”
7. STEPHEN DUNN— “WHAT THEY WANTED”
8. CHARLES BUKOWSKI— “NOT MUCH SINGING”
9. CAROL MUSKE— “A FORMER LOVE, A LOVER OF FORM”
10. SAM HAMILL— “WHAT THE WATER KNOWS”
11. HEATHER MCHUGH— “AFTER YOU LEFT”
12. STEPHANIE BROWN— “INTERVIEW W/AN ALCHEMIST IN THE NEW AGE”
13. JOY HARJO— “A POST-COLONIAL TALE”
14. RICHARD CECIL— “APOLOGY”
15. DOUGLAS CRASE— “THERE IS NO REAL PEACE IN THE WORLD”
16. HOWARD MOSS— “MIAMI BEACH”

And there they are: the 64  poets in the March Madness, the best of the “best” of APR from its beginning in 1972 to about 2000, when the APR anthology, The Body Electric: America’s Best Poetry from The American Poetry Review, was published.

The APR tourney reaches back a little further than Scarriet’s 2010 BAP tournament—Lehman’s Best American Poetry series commenced in 1988.

Sharon Olds is back, and so is William Kulik, who made it to the Final Four last year.  Stephen Dunn, who crashed the Elite Eight, is back with a strong poem.  Komunyakaa, Laux, Justice, Hall, and Dobyns return to action.  Ashbery, of course, is back, as is Heaney, both no. 1 seeds, in the East and North, respectively.  Robert Lowell is the no. 1 seed in the South and Ginsberg in the West.  A few Brits, and one Polish Nobel are included; if APR put them in their book, they’re eligible.  Again, the women poets are well under 50% in representation (as they were in the book); with the recently released VIDA report, that simple count will be checked more closely from now on.

3 Comments

  1. Eileen Myles said,

    March 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    I don’t understand the north south east west categories here. What do they mean?

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 2, 2011 at 3:32 pm

      Eileen,

      If you’ve ever seen march madness brackets, the single-elimination playoff format has 64 teams, divided into 4 random groups of 16, and the winners of those 4 groups make it to the ‘Final Four’ and then two more contests will determine the winner. The categories are really nothing more than categories which facilitate the playoff process. Is that what you’re asking?

      Tom

  2. barbara said,

    March 3, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    I didn’t think this was ever going to happen again. This is awful.


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