That's what we're getting down to, folks. Not tin tacks, not copper tacks; not a tie tack or the wrong tack to take. Shiny, pointy, brassy tacks with slightly convex heads, such as you might find in a tack factory, or hammered into the arms of your leather sofa. Because it is Friday afternoon, here in the EST, and there is no longer anything preventing us or prohibiting us from beholding and begrabbing these brass tacks in front of us, no more alluvial layers to dig through in our quest to get down to them. (Also to get down to a margarita, should we so choose.) (YES I know it's early but it's FRIDAY.)
What is the Best American Goddamn Poetry, already?
I have several suggestions for arriving at the answer.
1. Just choose the poetry of Frank O'Hara. He's my personal favorite, plus his Meditations on an Emergency was featured on Mad Men, which is a television show. On television = the best, right?
2. Let the people decide! Oh, wait, I just got a call from the people. They decided on Kanye West. I told them that he was a musical artist, but they directed me to his Twitter page to explore the breadth of his oeuvre. I explained that Twitter wasn't poetry, but they told me that I was defining "poetry" by an alienating and hegemonic metric, and that the constriction to 140 characters to express meaning is not unlike the parameters of other poetic forms like haiku, sonnets, etc. I told them I'd suggest it on this blog, but I'm pretty sure nobody here is going to go for Kanye. Lesson learned: Never ask the people anything.
3. Give it to whichever poet the largest number of Americans have heard of. This means that the Best American Poet is Shakespeare. Congratulations, Shakespeare! I personally haven't read any of your work, but I hear it's really top notch.
4. Check Poets.org's list of most popular poems by page views. Right now, Langston Hughes is hogging six of the top twenty spots. So the answer is Langston Hughes. Phew!
5. Let's get a really smart guy who's read a ton of poetry to consult with other smart people in the poetry field to make what he considers to be the choices that represent the highest expression of craft, the most accurate depiction of unspeakable emotion, and stuff that sounds good.
7. Two words: POETRY SLAM!
So there you have it -- brassy, tacky, and hacky -- the Best American Blog Post About What Constitutes the Best American Poetry, as determined by a totally unbiased panel of myself. Thanks for reading along this week. See you in the wordy pages.