David Lehman

b. 1948

Current City, State, Country

Ithaca, New York, USA

Birth City, State, Country

New York City, New York, USA


David Lehman is a poet, writer, and editor. He launched The Best American Poetry in 1988 and continues as the annual anthology’s general editor. Educated at Columbia and Cambridge Universities, he has written for publications ranging from Newsweek, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post to American Heritage, Art in America, Partisan Review, and People. He won ASCAP’s Deems Taylor Award for his book A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs.  He has taught at Hamilton College, NYU, Bennington, Columbia, and the New School. He edited The Oxford Book of American Poetry and is a contributing editor for The American Scholar.

Published Works

The Morning Line (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021)
Playlist (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019)
Poems in the Manner Of (Scribner, 2017)
New and Selected Poems (Scribner, 2013)
Yeshiva Boys (Scribner, 2009)
When a Woman Loves a Man (Scribner, 2005)
The Evening Sun (Scribner, 2002)
The Daily Mirror (Scribner, 2000)
Valentine Place (Scribner, 1996)
Operation Memory (Princeton University Press, 1990)
An Alternative to Speech (Princeton University Press, 1986)

The Mysterious Romance of Murder (Cornell University Press, 2022)
One Hundred Autobiographies (Cornell University Press, 2019)
Sinatra’s Century (HarperCollins, 2015)
The State of the Art: A Chronicle of American Poetry,1988-2014 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015)
A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs (Schocken, 2009)
The Last Avant-Garde (Doubleday, 1998)
The Big Question (University of Michigan Press, 1995)
The Line Forms Here (University of Michigan Press, 1992)
Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man (Poseidon Press, 1991)
The Perfect Murder: A Study in Detection (The Free Press, 1989)

Edited Works
The Best American Poetry (annually, since 1988)
Next Line, Please: Prompts to Inspire Poets and Writers (Cornell University Press, 2018)
The Best American Erotic Poems (Scribner, 2008)
The Oxford Book of American Poetry (Oxford University Press, 2006)
Great American Prose Poems (Scribner, 2003)
The KGB Bar Book of Poems; with Star Black (2000)
Ecstatic Occasions, Expedient Forms (Macmillan, 1987)
James Merrill: Essays in Criticism; with Charles Berger (NCROL, 1983)
Beyond Amazement: New Essays on John Ashbery (Cornell University Press, 1980)

Author Site

Links to Sample Works


Columbia College, B.A., 1970
Cambridge University, M.A., 1972
Columbia University, PhD, 1978

Languages of Publication(s) and Poets Translated

Apollinaire, Baudelaire, and Henri Michaux from the French; Holderlin and Goethe from the German; Mayakovsky from the Russian

Subject Matter