kidding aside, David Lehman is to be commended for his valiant efforts
to keep the Best American Poetry anthology alive for so long. I've written some bad jokes
about him and BAP over the years, I've "roasted" him in print too many
times, but I must confess my admiration for his superlative service to poetry and for his unique accomplishments.
I should apologize for all those carping comments. Consider them as nothing but spite and envy. My poems were never good enough for BAP, and that made me bitter, and I expressed my resentments with vitriol and sarcasm.
He is so well-known for his civic leadership in the
poetry community, his role as the public persona aegis of BAP's success,
and for being the face of USA poetry as it were, that his own
distinguished and marvelous verse is perhaps sometimes lost in the
shadow of that spotlight fame, and doesn't get the recognition and
acclaim it deserves.
He should put out a big Selected Poems, and it
should win the Pulitzer on the strength of its own merits alone.
And parenthetically I must say that everyone I ever met who knew David Lehman personally, everyone I have ever heard speak of him, all of them were unanimous in praise of his generosity and kindness and warm affable demeanor. He seems to be not just a great poet/writer/editor, but a real gentleman as well.