(I shut down slapkoppel for a while because I was tired of existing in virtual space. Unfortunately I can't take the name back. Exoskeleton-Johannes was the only name that wasn't taken.)
Suburban-guy and Jimmy have been harranguing David Lehman over his self-aggrandizing "Best of American Poetry" series. On one hand, they are absolutely right. It's Lehman's pet project (and he is his own pet most of all).
However, I think the most foolish aspect of the project is the perpetuation of the idea that there is such a thing as "best" poems out there.
(Or that it's important to limit it to "American." As I'm not an American citizen, I guess I'm not eligible!)
This seems like such a rudimentary observation, yet I find that (most?) people are still invested in the notion of a "best" poem, or at least "legitimate" poem.
All you need to do is glance at Silliman's blog. He's incredibly conservative in his thinking, constantly needing to make simplistic judgments. So and so is the finest poet of her generation, so and so has the best ear, so and so has the best vocabulary. (He also believes in the supremacy of the "native speaker".)
I think it's useful to think about how different poets/poetriues are legitimized or de-legitimized.