Saturday, August 1, 2009


Best New Poets is pleased to announce the fifty poets selected by Kim Addonizio for the 2009 anthology:

Amanda Chiado, “Openings”
Brandon Courtney, “Memorandum for the Record”
Jamison Crabtree, “Lyric - Donst Says”
Carolyn Creedon, “Pied Beauty”
James Crews, “Sex in the Rain”
Laura Davenport, “Why We Don't Write About Kudzu”
Kelly Davio, “The Way I Remember”
Sally Dawidoff, “Night Manager”
Danielle Deulen, “My Sister Accuses Me of Leaving”
Chiara Di Lello, “Center”
Katy Didden, “String Theory: Pyramus & Thisbe”
Alex Dimitrov, “White Fire”
Benjamin Dombroski, “Elegy for the Emptied Prairie”
Caitlin Doyle, “Thirteen”
Caitlin Dube, “Self Portrait as Corpse”
Barbara Duffey, “Thought Makes Everything Fit for Use”
Adam Giannelli, “What We Know”
Jules Gibbs, “Pronghorn”
Pilar Gomez-Ibanez, “Losing Bedrock Farm”
Rae Gouirand, “January”
Michael J. Grabell, “Definition of Terms”
Warren Heiti, “From 'The Uncollected Works of Sallie Chisum'”
Sara Johnson, “How the World Was Made”
Rebecca Keith, “Epistolary”
Sally Rosen Kindred, “Common Daisy”
Brian Leary, “The Trouble with the Mind”
Keith Leonard, “A Brief History of Patience”
Jennifer Molnar, “Separation”
Trey Moody, “Climate Reply”
Amanda Moore, “Las Atlas”
Megan Moriarty, “Reasons Why the Birthday Party Was Apocalyptic”
Lauren Moseley, “Summer”
Chris Perkowski, “What Nobody Thinks of When They Think of Time Travel”
Matthew Poindexter, “Nostalgia”
Roger Reeves, “Kletic of Walt Whitman, the Wound Dresser”
Joshua Robbins, “The Man in Hopper's Office in a Small City”
Stephanie Rogers, “On the Occasion of Her Annual Disappointment”
Katie Schmid, “Jobs”
Arnold Seong, “Transplantation”
David Silverstein, “Metamorphosis”
Gretchen Steele Pratt, “Road Rising Into Deep Grass”
Melissa Stein, “Eight Questions”
Kate Sweeney, “Death of the Hired Hand, Hiawatha, Kansas”
Michael Verschelden, “American Erasure”
Tana Jean Welch, “Sometimes, The Trip Across the Continent is Enough”
Eric Weinstein, "Diagnosis"
Patrick Whitfill, “Of Your Misguided Saints”
Joe Wilkins, “Notes from the Journey Westward”
Johnathon Williams, “Dirge”
Andrea Young, “Cleopatra, Pregnant, Refuses to Let Marc Antony Leave the Bed Chamber”

We are still in the process of verifying these initial results. Eligibility rules are at Please e-mail editor [at] with any comments/concerns. Entrants will receive this information in a separate e-mail.


  1. Clearly, congratulations are in order to those selected. Congratulations. This non-selected poet will eagerly await your work.

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  3. Yet another fly swatted away from the wall of celebration, I too congratulate all of the winners. I look forward to seeing your work, reading it aloud and hearing the words sing in my living room. Congrats!

  4. Congratulations to those selected. Any publishing credit is a good thing, but I was wondering if there could be some clarification? I seem to remember last year something like less than 5% of all submissions were sent to the final judge which made the BNP 2008 a lot more of an annual journal judged by the BNP staff than an anthology shaped by Mark Strand. Clearly the idea of the BNP is misleading. Why not call it a journal instead of an anthology? Probably because calling it an anthology makes it easier to charge an entry fee and potentially sell the publication.

    I wonder about the process this year. What percentage of the entered poems were sent to Addonizio? Why the resistance to letting the guest editor do the real work of shaping the publication instead of the BNP staff? I’m sure some of this has to do with money. I’m also sure the BNP staff feels as though it’s important to secure a guest editor who is prominent enough to help sell the publication. This last thought is kind of laughable though considering the poets in the BNP are all unknown so I doubt there is ever going to be money made from this kind of thing. That’s not to say these poems are not good, or they don’t deserve to be published, but it’d be interesting to see the sales numbers over the years. I say this with some suspicion that it is the entry fee for the contest that is largely funding this endeavor and paying the judge. And of course the series editor has to be paid their “nominal sum” (whatever that means) and each reader receives a “modest stipend of a few hundred dollars.”

    I’m bringing all this up because there is no doubt that poetry publishing in this country is more competitive than it ever has been. The rise of creative writing programs has made every publishing credit take on a veneer of necessity that contributes to the shamelessness of the Po Biz. Obviously, there has never really been any money to be made from poetry, but that doesn’t stop people from trying even if that means doing something slightly duplicitous or unethical. The percentage of poems given to the guest editor is the real question here.

    I admit there have been some very good poems printed in BNP over the years. But given the relatively small number of entries sent to the guest editor, the necessity of the guest editor has to be called into question. If Addonizio (or any of the past guest editor for that matter) got to look at even 10 or 15% of the total entries, instead of 5%, BNP would probably look and feel a lot different. Despite the BNP’s series editor’s previous contention that the anthology does not serve a certain esthetic, there is no way you can have the BNP staff do the bulk of the editing and not have this be the case. BNP says they try hard “not to be just another contest” but I wonder how true that is. This is all unfortunate and easily resolved because there are definitely poets of national reputation who would be happy to read twice as many poems as BNP seems to be sending their guest editors. It’s ironic that Addonizio, someone who has been a critic of the Po Biz in the past would help to contribute to it, but then again everyone has to make a living.

  5. Perhaps this is not the best place to voice those concerns, as this particular blog entry seems to be about the selected poets. Regardless of the way the judging is set up, they deserve congratulations and recognition from their colleagues for their accomplishment. Downplaying it by saying "any publishing credit is a good thing" seems inappropriate, as does criticizing the process since it takes away from the credit they deserve. This is not to say your critique does not have merit, necessarily, but perhaps that should be addressed another time in another entry, or by contacting the editors directly. Just my two cents. Congratulations to the fifty selected.

  6. Some writers just don't take rejection well -- doubtless the above concerns would never have been raised had a certain someone had a poem selected. (Strenuous objection by anonymous to follow.)

    Congrats to the 50!

  7. And for better or worse, this is exactly how every major poetry publication with guest editors operates. As someone who's read manuscripts for a fairly respected press, I can tell you 80-90% of what you receive is laughable, and to forward that 80-90% on to the guest editor, whose time is graciously given, would be an enormous waste of resources.

  8. Perhaps this isn't the best place to voice the concerns above, but these have been brought up in the past about BNP without a real attempt at a straight answer from anyone involved. And I'd have to disagree with you Anon about "this is exactly how every major poetry publication with guest editors operates." Some do. Some don't. I actually know several well-respected presses who don't. And I don't believe the critic above is asking for 80-90% to be forwarded to the guest editor. They seem to be asking for more than 5% which in my experience working with several different presses and journals is definitely on the small side. So, congrats to the winners for sure. But also, thanks to the critic for addressing issues that are too often pushed aside.

  9. You're tilting at windmills. If you don't like how a press/journal/etc. is run, don't submit there. But I think you'll find the list of publications you're left with is rather short.

    In the meantime, posting an irrelevant comment that only takes away from the pleasure the chosen 50 were surely feeling is in exceptionally poor taste.

  10. I don't mind the critical comment above. It's delivered civilly and with thought behind it. Back in 2006 I did a statistical breakdown of #'s submitted, #'s taken, state by state, etc., and maybe it is time to do that again for the sake of (admittedly relative) transparancy.

  11. I have no complaints about this journal. The editor is one of my favorites. We used one of her texts in my last poetry class and I enjoy her poetry. The low fee this year was a welcome change. I will definitely buy this anthology.

    I would love to know one thing. All of my submitted poems were read just once. Does that mean that they didn't reach the editor's desk or does it mean that only one person rated the poem before it reached the editor's desk? I don't expect an answer but it would have been nice to know.

    Thank you BNP and a very big hand to the winners for beating the odds. I look forward to reading all of the poems from this anthology.

  12. @ Series Editor:

    Yes, I think a statistical breakdown would be much appreciated both by the winners and by those considering submitting. It provides perspective in addition to transparency.

  13. stephanie rogers was selected in 2006 ... and again in 2009? i thought this was clearly against the rules

  14. I think you only have to take a year off, so she was eligible again in 2008.

  15. That's correct. We do have repeats, just not back-to-back years. Seems draconian to forever ban someone because they get in once, but it gets too cozy if someone gets in year after year.