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Poet's Choice

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  216 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Edward Hirsch began writing a column called "Poet’s Choice" in the Washington Post Book World in 2002. This book brings together those enormously popular columns, some of which have been revised and expanded, to present a minicourse in world poetry. Poet’s Choice includes the work of more than one hundred poets from ancient times to the present—among them Sappho, W. B. Yea ...more
Paperback, 456 pages
Published April 2nd 2007 by Mariner Books (first published 2006)
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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 ·  216 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Nov 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, edward-hirsch
Poetry is a means of exchange, a form of reciprocity, a magic to be shared, a gift. There has never been a civilization without it. That's why I consider poetry — which is, after all, created out of a mouthful of air — a human fundamental, like music. It saves something precious in the world from vanishing. It sacramentalizes experience. It is an imaginative act that starts with the breath itself. It arises from breathing. It is a living thing that comes from the body, from the heart, from the h ...more
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, 2016, favorites
A treasure for anyone who wants to read more modern poetry but doesn't know where to begin or what to think of what's out there. Hirsch gives us a large and eclectic sampling, and writes with such knowledge so as to make accessible what can sometimes seem more like a brick wall. His enthusiasm and appreciation are an education. And I kept thinking as I read - no one could say after hearing all these voices, that people are the same - I mean, the plenitude of sameness had me wonderstruck. We all ...more
Patrick Kennedy
Jan 11, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Too much confessional and quasi-confessional poetry here for my tastes. I know some people love it, but for me personally, listening to poets talk about themselves for hours on end is like a cross between being on a really bad blind date and being cornered by a stranger with TMI disease. They’re like people who never grew out of that childhood stage when we think we are actually the center of the universe. This is why I would much rather read Emily Dickinson’s stunning observations of the natura ...more
Texx Norman
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone who cares or might like to care about poetry.
Shelves: poetry
This is, of course, a great way to take articles and create a book, without actually having to write a book from scratch. However, this is an important book and a great concept that al poets and writes should consider following.

Most of us underestimate, and undervalue poetry. In this book, Mr. Hirsch selects poems, quotes the poems [making this a sort of collection of his favorite poems] and commentary on why the poems are good, or important.

I am doing the same thing in my private writings, bu
Oct 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hirsch is honest about the choices he makes for why he included particular poets and poems in this book. He freely admits that his decisions were based on his own subjective preferences, and that doesn't bother me because I've never heard of the vast majority of the ones I read about--so I have plenty of reading material for the future.

Hirsch splits this book into two sections, one for non-American writers and the other for American writers. He clearly loves Pablo Neruda, who by far has the most
Mar 18, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Edward Hirsch is too in love with poetry. His rapturous affection is evidenced by his overflowing, rather gushing praise of almost every single poet he showcases in his Choice.

The book runs overly long, and before the reader is over a quarter finished, the reader is lost in a plethora of names and titles and collections. It would have been better to pick a few poets and spend longer with them than to present a collection of extremely short introductions to a hundred or more poets.

I also found Hi
Jan 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Once, poetry was a common part of everyday life. Robert Hass wants to bring poetry back into the lives of workaday men and women. During the time he spent as Poet Laureate of the US, Hass decided to read widely and write a weekly newspaper column about poetry. This book is a compilation of the columns Hass write during the two year term.

Hass focuses on new poetry, but now and then he tosses in an old favorite or two. New or old, the poems he shares with us, his readers, his everyday readers, are
Lee Razer
Nov 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This collection of 130 newspaper columns that Hirsch wrote for the Washington Post, each briefly discussing the work of a poet or poets he admires, is like a treasure trove of bread crumbs which can lead the reader onto paths of interest throughout the poetic corpus. Hirsch's love of poetry is wide ranging and enthusiastic and it's hard to imagine anyone but the expert not finding introductions here to new and interesting poets, and more avenues down which to go exploring. ...more
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Hirsch’s collection of short essays on poetry and poets, most originally published in the Washington Post, is at times brilliant--packed with accumulated centuries of lore and chosen from by one of the most sensitive poetic minds entering the 21st century--but also is at at times preachy and vacuous, falling victim to Hirsch’s deep reluctance to criticize or find fault.

The first score or so of entries are Hirsch’s best, where he locates the founding myths of the tradition of poetry in English, w
Roger DeBlanck
Jan 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
An award-winning poet himself, Edward Hirsch expresses his deeply-honored love and respect for poetry in this book. In fact, it serves as an homage to the craft and language of poetry that produces great emotive responses in people. With his short, essay-like chapters, Hirsch provides acute commentary on hundreds of poets and poems featured throughout the book. He shows how they have impacted and guided the quest of his own poetic vision and verse, and how they have helped him work to discover t ...more
Sherry Elmer
May 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: poetry lovers; anyone new to poetry

As Ed Hirsch says in his anthology, "the original meaning of the word anthology, which derives from the Greek, is 'flower gathering,' and these books compose a surprisingly diverse and colorful garden." Hirsch was speaking of Robert Pinsky's Favorite Poem anthologies, but his statement applies to his own anthology, as well. Poet's Choice is a well-chosen and enthusiastically-tended garden of poets and poetry, both American and international. Reading Poet's Choice, I was introduced to many poets
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jul 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I loved this book of essays on poetry so much that I reread several of the essays. I'm not sure I'm ready to pass this one on yet.

Yes, this is a book of essays on poetry and, yes, I loved it so much more than the two horrible novels I attempted this week and, no, I don't care that probably no one else in the entire world or even in the entire book-loving world would read this book. I loved it.
StacyLynn StacyLynn
Sep 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up several years ago and took my time reading. I dipped into it a little each day and was never disappointed.

I love the variety of poetry and authors in this book, many I enjoyed but would have never heard from otherwise.

Owning this book and reading an article or two per day allows you to easily make poetry a daily habit for you.

I hated to see the book come to an end!
Christine Potter
Nov 02, 2007 rated it liked it
This is a really terrific spin on the anthology idea--a group of articles about poets and poems as well as the poems themselves. The reader gets Hirsch's amazing depth of knowledge on poetry as well as his excellent taste in choosing it. His prose is very readable, by the way--perhaps not as lively as his readings, but smart and engaging. ...more
Oct 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
i took a year to read this book. It sat beside my bed and gave me a few pages a night to ponder. It is a way to "read a poem a day" which is an excellent idea and to have a wonderful writer tell you something about each poet or each theme. It includes a section on international poets and a section on American ones. I got to reading one of each on some nights. I will miss this nightly friend! ...more
Apr 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I've been reading this chapter by chapter since 2007, and just finished. I'll let it sit, and then start again. It's a crash course in poetry, written by a poet/journalist/teacher. It reacquaints you with old friends, and introduces the new. It's a boon to poets' royalties in that it had me buying books every other chapter. ...more
Jan 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I was expecting an anthology, but this is more a collection of (short) conversations about poetry. Edward Hirsch's thoughts never failed to enhance the poems he presented. His descriptions of poets were truly beautiful and specific. Thanks to this one, I've bought 3 other books... so far. ...more
Apr 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A great collection of Poetry, with interesting information on all the poets. It contains a lot of my favorite poets, all the most successful poets and some that are not well-known but amazing in their own rite. If you like a compact collection of great poems, this book is for you. Lovely!
Oct 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Basically, it's a guy picking his favorite contemporary poems and then explaining why they're good. A little self-indulgent, but it's to be expected. They're like super-mini hybrids. The nice thing was that he included over 130 poets, and it was split between American and world poets. ...more
Niño Manaog
Apr 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In each poet he features, he unveils mysteries of the poets' worlds to me. He makes clear the motives and tendencies of otherwise unknown or unsung chroniclers of pain and suffering. Each piece allows me to unveil myself the metaphors and unlock the mysteries in each sensibility.
Scott Ansley
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic read. Hirsch writes beautifully while writing about beautiful writing. His incites into the history of the each of the poets and where they were writing during their masterpieces are extremely pleasurable to read. His ability to show the humanity in the heroes we read is lovely.
Jan 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Edward Hirsch has compiled brief (2-3 pages) details of some poets along with short parts of their work. He clearly loves poetry (to an extreme). I had hoped to read through this book and find some poets that I might be interested in reading more of the work. I'm not sure that I did. ...more
Oct 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Poets
This book gave me a change to write poetry and I'm happy for the change. I'm more confident about myself afterword ...more
Thorin McGee
Jan 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some amazing poems I don't think I would have found otherwise. One of the most rewarding books I ever bought. ...more
Aug 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I've found so many great & and unfamiliar poets in here that I stopped counting. The essays connect, coming as they do from Ed Hirsch, poetry lover, as opposed to Ed Hirsch, poetry expert. ...more
Sep 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I. love. Ed. Hirsch. This is the book I could give to my aunt who can't stand poetry to explain to her why I love you. ...more
Jun 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Analyze and annotate and anthologize your favorite poems as a project. Choose carefully, wisely. Make top ten lists. Name-drop, occasionally. Quote away, evermore.
May 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the poetic prose in defense of poetry. Striking selections that I was not familiar with made it an interesting exploration of poetry.
Ace Boggess
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book by noted poet Hirsch is conceptually intriguing. Rather than a scholarly work on poetry, it's more of a journal of Hirsch's personal meditations on poems he loves, or poets, as well as the concepts that make up poetry itself. The short chapters bounce around in no particular order between poets (Neruda, Gluck, Hoagland, etc.) and the themes that develop into interesting poetry (protest, grandparents, baseball, dailiness). While the poems Hirsch chose would make this book a worthy read ...more
Dec 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked some of these poems better than others, which is the nature of an anthology. Because these were originally columns in the Washington Post Book World, each entry is short. I would have preferred longer entries with fewer poems so that Hirsch had a chance to expand on his ideas. In other words, I would have liked this book better in a different format.
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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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