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Now and Then: The Poet's Choice Columns, 1997-2000

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  56 ratings  ·  10 reviews
During his tenure as US Poet Laureate, Robert Hass revived the popular nineteenth-century tradition of including poetry in our daily newspapers. “Poet's Choice” ultimately became a nationally syndicated column appearing in dozens of papers across the country. Every week, Hass would marry poets and poetry to headlines and holidays.
Proceeding in sequence from early 1997 to t
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 6th 2007 by Counterpoint (first published 2007)
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Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
A nice collection of disparate and brief essays about poets and poetry. I find the sentimentalizing of the "pre 9-11" world a bit overdone as it relates to what is just a study of poetry in short essays. Perhaps that is just what the publisher wanted to write, but there is only a need to say it is timeless. Hass captures the timeless quality, whether of living poets or ones who wrote centuries ago. ...more
Margaret Johnson
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, criticism
This was SO GOOD. It's a book full of poems with little essays attached to them - essays that lead you in understanding the poem, give you background on the poet, or teach you how to read poetry. Originally published as a weekly newspaper column designed to introduce readers to poems and poets, this collection stretched me and exposed me to so many wonderful poets I have never even heard of before, including poets from other countries. I've written down at least a dozen poetry books I want to re ...more
May 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, wish-list
This is a compendium of weekly columns, each including a poem or two, that Robert Hass wrote for the Washington Post's Book World from late 1997 through early 2000. Each column is titled with a poet, sometimes accompanied with a header, often a holiday, or the nationality of the poet. Many of the columns concerned poetic works published during those years, but there are also columns focusing on works published in prior years and further in the past.

This collection is made interesting through th
Jonna Higgins-Freese
What an unexpected treasure, stumbled across on the library shelf. Hass has an engaging and accessible way of introducing and interacting with the poems and situating them in context so they can be appreciated. His tone is neither too academic nor condescending to the lay reader, but pitch perfect: here's some stuff that I really enjoy. Here's why you might like it too, or the things you might need to know to appreciate it. See what you think. ...more
Karl Nehring
Oct 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THis is a nice compilation of columns about poetry by a practicing poet. Hass's essays follows the seasons, presenting poems about winter in wintertime, for example, and range over poems and poets old and new. This is a great book for someone who remembers being entranced by poetry as a student long ago and who now would like to read some poetry without plunging in to a pure anthology. Stimulating and entertaining! ...more
Jul 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The book is a collection of Hass’s newspaper columns from his time as Poet Laureate. Many of the essays in here are quite helpful especially when reading a list of American poets from the last fifty years. Hass writes vignettes on many different writers such as Wallace Stevens, Rita Dove, John Ashbery, Robert Frost, as well as many others. In most of the essays he is discussing a particular poem that illustrates that poet’s aesthetics.
Jun 17, 2008 added it
Lucid introductions to contemporary American poets rendered with grace and broad-mindedness. It was an excellent way to broaden my reading tastes. Too bad Hass is no longer writing this column. Why aren't there more such columns on poetry in American newspapers? ...more
Dana Swain
Aug 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
So far, really fantastic for his insight on the anthology of poets he chooses. Beautiful!
Jan 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Nice collection from his columns while he was Poet Laureate. It helped to introduce me to a couple of new poets, too, old and new. I've enjoyed reading it slowly and was sad when I was finished.
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Robert Hass was born in San Francisco and lives in Berkeley, California, where he teaches at the University of California. He served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1995 to 1997. A MacArthur Fellow and a two-time winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, he has published poems, literary essays, and translations. He is married to the poet Brenda Hillman.

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