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A Poet's Glossary

4.58  ·  Rating details ·  153 ratings  ·  20 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)
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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. ...more
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
Joshua Rigsby
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
A wonderful companion.
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
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry-writing
An excellent, must own resource book for all serious poets.
Soren Alby
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you are interested in poetry you must have this book. If you are a poet... why don't you already?
As someone else wrote, the Glossary in the title is (somewhat) misleading. It is much more than that. In fact it has huge literary merit, almost each entry is a gem. It is difficult to use it just as a reference book. I almost read it as a novel... Every entry is a gem.
Krista Lukas
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reference
A generous glossary I will be reading forever and ever.
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
wish I owned it--

Taron Keim
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
a comprehensive history of poetry, forms, masters of their craft, and an indispensable writing tool.
Jeffrey (Akiva) Savett
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
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. ...more
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. ...more
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. ...more
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
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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

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