Edward Hirsch

Edward Hirsch, a MacArthur Fellow, has published nine books of poems, including The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems (2010), which brings together thirty-five years of work.

His book-length elegy, Gabriel: A Poem (2014), which The New Yorker calls “a masterpiece of sorrow,” won the National Jewish Book Award for poetry.

He has also published five books of prose, among them, How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry (1999), a national bestseller which this interview focuses on, and A Poet’s Glossary (2014), a full compendium of poetic terms.

He is president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

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  1. […] Edward Hirsch has spoken to us in the past about his wonderful poetry including his book length elegy Gabriel which received the National Jewish Book Award for poetry. In this interview, he discusses his 1999 publication How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry a book he says grew out of his teaching. Hirsch discusses the intangible something that causes us to fall in love with people and applies this to the love of poems and poetry. “When you begin to encounter poetry…things start to happen to you. Poems begin to explain and talk to your own experience,” he says. He goes on to use Emily Dickinson’s description of the way poetry can affect us saying, “when you read a poem, you feel as though the top of your head were taken off.” A blossoming love of poetry encourages readers to want to deepen their experience and learn more and it is this self-perpetuating cycle that draws people in. Hirsch is also the author of A Poet’s Glossary which was published in 2014. […]