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

de Edward Hirsch

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752921,898 (4.07)11
"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.… (mais)
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Edward Hirsch wrote an excellent book about reading poetry. Beginning my foray into poetry this book was helpful as a guide and also a source of entertainment (Hirsch gets a bit hyperbolic at times). The guy clearly loves poetry and shares through his emotional and intellectual responses to poems the proper way to approach verse. I read in another review that the first seven chapters are the strongest, most coherent. The first seven chapters follow the thesis of the book and the remaining examine facets of poetry (like post-war Polish poetry) that interest Hirsch as an individual. I found the latter chapters engaging and stimulating but certainly not nearly as instructive as the first seven. ( )
  b.masonjudy | Apr 3, 2020 |
I feel this book's title does not truly describe what it offers. It is a book of essays that takes as it's topic the subtle enchantment poetry produces; it is a book length paean to the art of poetry. It is not particularly effective as an introductory volume on poetry for the ignorant layman, as Hirsch's analysis is informed by a lifetime spent spent reading and writing poetry, and as a result can seem unapproachable at times. However, Hirsh's enthusiasm and love for poetry is infectious, and I came away from the book with a greater appreciation and respect for the art form.

This book left me with a lot to learn about the form and history of poetry, which I had expected to learn more about during the course of this book, it successfully delves into the essence and the romance of poetry. This book left me with a desire to learn more, and to read more poetry. Although this book may not have been what I expected, it was highly successful in the end. ( )
  TomPfeifer | Dec 12, 2019 |
The title of this book is misleading. It does not tell a beginner (or an experienced reader, for that matter) how to read a poem. I wish the publisher had called it "How to Fall in Love with Poetry."
The author shares his own views on reading and interpreting poems. And he seems to assume that his audience has read a lot of poetry. I mean a LOT.
An enjoyable read, but frustrating in being written for an audience not like me. ( )
  CarolJMO | Dec 12, 2016 |
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 Places," Nazim Hikmet's "Some Advice to Those Who Will Serve Time in Prison" and "On Living," Tadeusz Rozewicz's "In the Midst of Life," Wislawa Szymborska's "Children of Our Age" and "Reality Demands," WCW's "Aspohdel, That Greeny Flower," and reawakened my interest in Anglo-Saxon poetry. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
First Edition. Signed copy by the author.
  50worth | Feb 14, 2015 |
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Read these poems to yourself in the middle of the night.
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"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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