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

By Edward Hirsch, Marco Zeni (Translator), Blasco Pisapia (Illustrator), Pamela Brughera (Illustrator), Robert C. Hunt (Contributor), David Griffin (Narrator), John F. Schank & Michael Hayes
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Item Description...
An exploration of the reasons for and meanings of poetry analyzes poems by Wordsworth, Plath, Neruda, and others to define their unique power and message

Publishers Description
How to Read a Poem is an unprecedented exploration of poetry and feeling. In language at once acute and emotional, distinguished poet and critic Edward Hirsch describes why poetry matters and how we can open up our imaginations so that its message can make a difference. In a marvelous reading of verse from around the world, including work by Pablo Neruda, Elizabeth Bishop, Wallace Stevens, and Sylvia Plath, among many others, Hirsch discovers the true 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.

Item Specifications...

Pages   354
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 6.25" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2000
Publisher   Harvest Books
Age  14
ISBN  0156005662  
EAN  9780156005661  

Availability  11 units.
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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Criticism & Theory > General   [12596  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Criticism & Theory   [790  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > Anthologies   [8915  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > General   [19247  similar products]
5Books > Subjects > Reference > Words & Language > Rhetoric   [1181  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Not Necessarily for a Beginning Reader of Poetry But Still a Good Resource  Nov 10, 2007
While this book has a very academic tone, it is also obvious that the author has a genuine passion for poetry. His goal with this book, it seems, was to help others learn about poetry from the poems themselves. Each chapter (or article) presents a group of poems around a certain topic (theme) that the author hopes will help the reader to better grasp the world of poetry. Hirsch is acutely aware of what a partner the reader of poetry is to the poem.

The first few chapters are the most compelling as is Chapter 9 that deals with form. In these sections, Hirsch is in his element as he uses bits of poems and quotes from poets to discuss such things as the basis of form, rhythm and structure. The other chapters in this book, however, often seem to run on into the more esoteric aspects of poetry and are not as easily read--especially when Hirsch selects very long poems.

This book was listed, in most circles, as a book for lay readers to learn about poetry but as a poet--an amateur academic--I found it a bit more advanced then it was described as being to me. That being said the first three chapters and the glossary and reading lists are well worth reading through so I would still suggest this book. I would lean, however, to suggesting it for writers or a lay person who is more of an intermediate reader of poetry than a beginner.
Bought for Poetry writing course  Apr 7, 2007
Bought for poetry writing course, was helful but slow read.
Like an old glove, it gets better with age...  Mar 9, 2007
I tend to think of this book as I do my seasoned, battered first baseman's mitt, which accompanied me through eight seasons of championship Senior Mens' Hardball in the Northwest.

As I grow older, I become more appreciative of Ed Hirsch's spiritual gift. It is no small feat to mentor well, especially in a field as suspicious as poetry, but Hirsch manages quite well, with no lies and no breaking of hands, with no disillusion or politicking. By sharing his passion and speaking honestly and humbly from his heart, he presents a compelling case for reading poetry, for reading at all for enjoyment, love, and salvation. It's a necessary book, and I wish I had written it myself. It is a superior substitute for extended, engaging conversation. I'm glad we have it, and that someone as capable as Ed Hirsch has made himself and his insights available to us.

Robert McDowell, author of the forthcoming Poetry In Your Spiritual Practice
What goes out from the heart enters the heart  May 8, 2005
There is a Jewish teaching, that something said from the heart enters the heart. Hirsch's love of poetry is the dominant theme here, an enthusiasm he teaches in every line he writes. He cites Rilke as saying that poetry should be an ' experience' something felt and sensed directly. And poetry is clearly that for Hirsch.
Those of us who have read poetry all our lives, and found in it a special gift and power, a special consolation and source of strength know and understand the kind of ' love' Hirsch is talking about.
Poetry can enhance life and give us strength in it. If this work succeeds in bringing more readers into the circle of loving poetry then it will certainly have done work of value.
But... How to Read a Poem?  Sep 28, 2004
Edward Hirsch has written a meticulous analysis of the art of poetry, imbued with an authentic love of the form. From page to page he dissects and interprets; his enthusiasm remains high throughout. Not just the poetry, but also the poets themselves are lavished with heroic praise, their craft transcending the mortal. Their words are golden strands of virtue more appropriately whispered into the ears of gods.

But, but...

For those of us uneducated in the art of poetry there is a much more basic level of understanding that has to be achieved first: Why no punctuation? Why do sentences break in mid-breath? How does one find the meter in a poem? How does one read poetry without the stops and starts from line to line? Perhaps we should have learned this in school, but we didn't, so we bought this book.

This is a good book, really, but it is not what its title suggests. It should rather be entitled "The Love of Poetry", or "Falling in Love With Poetry", or "Furthering Your Love of Poetry", or something else emotive. "How to Read a Poem" sounds mechanical, the basics, just what those uneducated among us get when we do a keyword search on how to read a poem.

Select another book in order to learn how to read a poem, then graduate to this one once you comprehend the basics.

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Matthew 7:24 “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock.