How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love with Poetry

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Mar 22, 1999 - Literary Criticism - 288 pages
5 Reviews
"Read a poem to yourself in the middle of the night. Turn on a single lamp and read it while you're alone in an otherwise dark room or while someone sleeps next to you. Say it over to yourself in a place where silence reigns and the din of culture—the constant buzzing noise that surrounds you—has momentarily stopped. This poem has come from a great distance to find you." So begins this astonishing book by one of our leading poets and critics. In an unprecedented exploration of the genre, Hirsch writes about what poetry is, why it matters, and how we can open up our imaginations so that its message—which is of vital importance in day-to-day life—can reach us and make a difference. For Hirsch, poetry is not just a part of life, it is life, and expresses like no other art our most sublime emotions. In a marvelous reading of world poetry, including verse by such poets as Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, Pablo Neruda, William Wordsworth, Sylvia Plath, Charles Baudelaire, and many more, Hirsch discovers the meaning of their words and ideas and brings their sublime message home into our hearts. A masterful work by a master poet, this brilliant summation of poetry and human nature will speak to all readers who long to place poetry in their lives but don't know how to read it.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - wealhtheowwylfing - LibraryThing

I mostly used this book to discover new poems to love. Among them: Yehuda Amichai's "A Pity. We Were Such a Good Invention," Delmore Schwartz's "Baudelaire," the last lines of Robert Frost's "Desert ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - EileenWYSIWYG - LibraryThing

I loved this book. Hirsch's love for poets and poetry was infectious for me, and I found myself digging up all kinds of poetry online while I was reading it and after I was finished. I have another Hirsch book on my shelf, and I can't wait to read it! Read full review

Contents

1 Message in a Bottle
2 A Made Thing
3 A Hand a Hook a Prayer
4 Three Initiations
5 At the White Heat
6 Five Acts
7 Beyond Desolation
Polish Poetry after the End of the World
Form
10 A Shadowy Exultation
11 Soul in Action
12 To the Reader at Parting
Back Matter
Back Cover
Spine
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

EDWARD HIRSCH is a celebrated poet and peerless advocate for poetry. A MacArthur fellow, he has published nine books of poems and five books of prose. He has received numerous awards and fellowships, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Rome Prize, a Pablo Neruda Presidential Medal of Honor, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature. He serves as president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and lives in Brooklyn.

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