Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Poet's Glossary” as Want to Read:
A Poet's Glossary
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Poet's Glossary

4.59  ·  Rating details ·  126 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
A major addition to the literature of poetry, Edward Hirsch’s sparkling new work is a compilation of forms, devices, groups, movements, isms, aesthetics, rhetorical terms, and folklore—a book that all readers, writers, teachers, and students of poetry will return to over and over.

Hirsch has delved deeply into the poetic traditions of the world, returning with an inclusive,
Hardcover, 736 pages
Published April 8th 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published January 1st 2014)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Poet's Glossary, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Poet's Glossary

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Julie Christine
Not that this is a book you read cover to cover or ever finish, but it's utterly GORGEOUS. I cannot imagine continuing to read and study and attempt to write poetry without it.
Joshua Rigsby
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
A wonderful companion.
Therese Broderick
Dec 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A sensational holiday gift for any lover of words, and reasonably priced at only $30 (hardcover).

This humbly-named ''glossary'' partakes of the majesty of a Concordance, the wisdom of an Old Testament, the revelatory love of a New Testament, the grandeur of a Summing Up, the impeccable precision of The King's English by Mr. Fowler, the irresistible fun of a TED talk, and the wondrous charm of an Advent Calendar.

My advice to all poets is this: Instead of playing yet another round on Facebook of t
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry-writing
An excellent, must own resource book for all serious poets.
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
wish I owned it--

Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic reference book, with glints of historical context threaded throughout. Easy to read. Easy to reference. Full of knowledge!
May 03, 2014 added it
I picked up this book because I know little of poetry. I remember bits and pieces from my literature classes, but nothing that could really help me learn more about it. I believe this book is to go hand in hand with Hirsch's book How to Read a Poem. Alas I have not read that book either, though I ordered it from Amazon and never received it.

I did find this book extremely helpful. I think it would make a great reference book for students, poets, or laymen like me. It's probably not a complete gl
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love Hirsch's poetry and so I was thrilled to pick this up as soon as it came out. I learned an INCREDIBLE amount from this book and can't wait to put so much of it to use in my own writing. Hirsch is wonderful to include so many example poems for the entries. I can't imagine how much work he had to do in order to put this together. Particularly beautiful is Hirsch's entry on the "lyric" or "lyric poetry."

One caveat: I think this book is most useful for poets. I am also an English teacher and
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Edward Hirsch

Publication Date
April 8, 2014

A comprehensive glossary of terms useful to the study and analysis of poetry.

High Points
You can tell Hirsch has a poet's soul. He even included a lovely poem of dedication to poetry.

Low Points
It is a glossary, so it's not the most captivating reading, but it is incredibly thorough.

5 stars

E-Galley was received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. For more reviews from the Readist, please visit
Grady McCallie
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry-favorites
Not a book that one reads straight through, this is an idiosyncratic and wonderful collection of entries introducing different poetic forms, traditions, and technical terms. It has given me some of the greatest reading pleasure I've experienced this year, and I'll be back to dip into it regularly. The entries serve as a marvelous jumping-off point for Internet searches for the names and traditions and specific poems Hirsch recommends.
Frank Kearns
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Well, it's huge. It's expensive. And it's a glossary.

So of course I haven't "read" it all. But often I have opened it up on a random page and found fascinating reading ... like the magic that I found as a child in the Encyclopedia Britannica.

If you are a poet or fan of poetry, there is much for you in this book. If you are not, save your money and shelf space.
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I didn't read all or much of this book, but I probably should. I'm noting it on here because I definitely want to use it again, and maybe even make it a part of my library. It's new, published in 2014, and seems to be quite interesting, and certainly needs more of my attention.
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is not a book I've read all the way through, but I'm finding it to be an immensely helpful resource. It has all kinds of entries on poetic forms, devices, movements, from all over the world.
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
5 stars.
Mills College Library
808.103 H6691 2014
Aug 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This glossary of terminology is a lovely guide for poets and those who wish to learn more about poetry. It has become my go-to book for writing exercises.
R.K. Cowles
rated it it was amazing
Jun 02, 2014
kim ryan
rated it it was amazing
Sep 26, 2015
rated it really liked it
Jan 18, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Mar 11, 2017
Maggie Smith
rated it it was amazing
Apr 05, 2015
rated it really liked it
Aug 04, 2014
Francisco Costa
rated it it was amazing
Mar 14, 2017
Dana Stangel-Plowe
rated it it was amazing
Jun 26, 2015
J Scott Shipman
rated it it was amazing
Jan 09, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Oct 03, 2016
Pablo Herrera
rated it it was amazing
Jul 18, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Jul 28, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Apr 14, 2016
rated it it was amazing
May 06, 2017
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
A Must-Read 2 4 Aug 03, 2014 01:30PM  
  • Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries
  • The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms
  • Music at Midnight: The Life and Poetry of George Herbert
  • Rules for the Dance: A Handbook for Writing and Reading Metrical Verse
  • Elegy Owed
  • Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments
  • Across the Land and the Water: Selected Poems, 1964-2001
  • The Best Poems of the English Language: From Chaucer Through Frost
  • The Triggering Town: Lectures and Essays on Poetry and Writing
  • The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics
  • Collected Poems
  • Can Poetry Matter?: Essays on Poetry and American Culture
  • Versed
  • Sun Bear
  • Dart
  • Garbage
  • Collected Works
  • India Song
Edward Hirsch is a celebrated poet and peerless advocate for poetry. He was born in Chicago in 1950—his accent makes it impossible for him to hide his origins—and educated at Grinnell College and the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a Ph.D. in Folklore. His devotion to poetry is lifelong.He has received numerous awards and fellowships, including a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fe ...more
More about Edward Hirsch

Nonfiction Deals

  • Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany
    $15.99 $3.99
  • The Monster of Florence
    $10.99 $2.99
  • The Westies: Inside New York's Irish Mob
    $9.99 $1.99
  • April 1865 (P.S.)
    $11.74 $1.99
  • Jesus Is ______: Find a New Way to Be Human
    $7.99 $0.99
  • Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Lab 257
    $8.74 $1.99
  • How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype--and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More
    $14.99 $2.99
  • The Last Lecture
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived
    $12.74 $1.99
  • Not Tonight, Honey: Wait 'Til I'm A Size 6
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Feast: True Love in and out of the Kitchen
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology
    $12.99 $2.99
  • An Appetite For Wonder: The Making Of A Scientist
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience
    $27.99 $2.99
  • Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip-Confessions of a Cynical Waiter
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Dakota: A Spiritual Geography (Dakotas)
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Restless: Because You Were Made for More
    $7.49 $1.99
  • Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman
    $10.24 $1.99
  • The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions
    $16.99 $2.99
  • Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After
    $13.99 $3.99
  • Man-Eater: The Life and Legend of an American Cannibal
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Pukka: The Pup After Merle
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Buddhist Boot Camp
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Flour: A Baker's Collection of Spectacular Recipes
    $21.99 $3.99
  • The Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D-Day
    $12.99 $3.99
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Van Gogh
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up a Life
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Woman's Worth
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Do the Work
    $4.99 $1.49
  • The Lost Tribe of Coney Island: Headhunters, Luna Park, and the Man Who Pulled Off the Spectacle of the Century
    $4.99 $1.99
  • I Suck at Girls
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Cesar's Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems
    $11.99 $3.99
  • The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Peace Is Every Breath: A Practice for Our Busy Lives
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now--As Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It, and Long for It
    $7.24 $1.99
  • The World's Last Night: And Other Essays
    $7.99 $1.99
  • A. Lincoln
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Tracks: One Woman's Journey Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman's Awakening
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Hell's Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Life
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society
    $13.24 $2.99
  • Grace, Not Perfection (with Bonus Content): Celebrating Simplicity, Embracing Joy
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Promise and the Dream: The Untold Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. And Robert F. Kennedy
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Through the Eyes of a Lion: Facing Impossible Pain, Finding Incredible Power
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Why We Run: A Natural History
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Edgar Allan Poe: The Fever Called Living
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple
    $12.99 $2.99