In his bullet-pointed introduction to this year's volume in this popular annual anthology series, prolific Pulitzer winner Wright makes it known that he is interested in emotional intensity, and its capacity to give poems shape and beauty, more than in any particular aesthetic camp: "cleverness is not what endures. Only pain endures. And the rhythm of pain." Poems here might be called confessional, hip, avant-garde, edgy and conservative. Powerful if hairy poems by Marvin Bell, Alex Lemon and D. Nurkse are good examples of the range of what Wright likes, as is Rae Armantrout's stark and hurting elegy for Robert Creeley: "The present is cupped// by a small effort/ of focus-// its muscular surround.// You're left out." Many of the usual suspects-Ashbery, Glück, Merwin, Graham, Charles Simic-are represented by strong poems. Also here are representatives of the generation now entering mid-career, like D.A. Powell, Natasha Trethewey and Kevin Young. Some of the most exciting poems come from writers whose stars are still rising, such as an extraordinary meditation on love by Mary Szybist: "The Puritans thought that we are granted the ability to love/ Only through miracle,/ But the troubadours knew how to burn themselves through,/ How to make themselves shrines to their own longing." (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.