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Perhaps poetry has lost much of its impact as an artform over the years, but the people who practice it have never been more devout or determined to make a difference. Here are several new books of verse worth your time:- "The Best American Poetry," Charles Simic, editor; David Lehman, series editor (CollierBooks-Macmillan; $13; 352 pages). This anthology bravely asserts each year that poetry is not dead in America. Poems are culled from periodicals published in the previous year.

- "After Aztlan: Latino Poets of the Nineties," edited by Ray Gonzalez (Godine; $24.95, cloth; $15.95, paper; 224 pages). Poems by poets of Hispanic origin writing in English.

- "A Book of Women Poets: From Antiquity to Now: Selections From the World Over," edited by Aliki Barnstone and Willis Barnstone (Schocken; $18; 822 pages). From the Sumerian moon priestess, Enheduanna (2300 B.C.) to present-day poets, this collection covers six continents and four millennia.

- "The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart: Poems for Men," edited by Robert Bly, James Hillman and Michael Meade (Harper Collins; $25; 192 pages). Poems for everyman, from scientists to truckers to middle-managers, are organized by themes, such as "Approach to Wildness," "Mother and Great Mother," "War" and "Zaniness."

- "American Indian Poetry: An Anthology of Songs and Chants," edited by George W. Cronyn (Fawcett Columbine; $10; 336 pages). One of the first collections to recognize American Indian songs and chants as an indigenous art form. Poems are organized by region and tribe.