Biography of Edward Hirsch
Edward Hirsch is an American poet and critic who wrote a national bestseller about reading poetry. He has published eight books of poems, including The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems (2010), which brings together thirty-five years of work. He is president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in New York City (not to be mistaken with E. D. Hirsch, Jr.).
Hirsch was born in Chicago. He had a childhood involvement with poetry, which he later explored at Grinnell College and the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a Ph.D. in folklore.
Hirsch was a professor of English at Wayne State University. In 1985, he joined the faculty at the University of Houston, where he spent 17 years as a professor in the Creative Writing Program and Department of English. He was appointed the fourth president of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation on September 3, 2002. He holds seven honorary degrees.
Hirsch is a well-known advocate for poetry whose essays have been published in the American Poetry Review, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Review of Books, and elsewhere. He wrote a weekly column on poetry for The Washington Post Book World from 2002-2005, which resulted in his book Poet’s Choice (2006). His other prose books include Responsive Reading (1999) and The Demon and the Angel: Searching for the Source of Artistic Inspiration (2002). He is the editor of Transforming Vision: Writers on Art (1994), Theodore Roethke’s Selected Poems (2005) and To a Nightingale (2007). He is the co-editor of A William Maxwell Portrait: Memories and Appreciations and The Making of a Sonnet: A Norton Anthology (2008). He also edits the series “The Writer’s World” (Trinity University Press).
Hirsch's first collection of poems, For the Sleepwalkers, received the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets and the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award from New York University. His second book, Wild Gratitude, received the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1986. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1985 and a five-year MacArthur Fellowship in 1997. He received the William Park Riley Prize from the Modern Language Association for the best scholarly essay in PMLA for the year 1991. He has also received an Ingram Merrill Foundation Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, a Pablo Neruda Presidential Medal of Honor, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature. He is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Hirsch’s book, How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry (1999), was a surprise bestseller and remains in print through multiple printings.
Edward Hirsch's Works:
For the Sleepwalkers, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1981)
Wild Gratitude, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1986)
The Night Parade, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989)
Earthly Measures, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994)
On Love, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998)
Lay Back the Darkness (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003)
Special Orders (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008)
Transforming Vision: Writers on Art, Selected and Introduced by Edward Hirsch, (Boston: Little, Brown, 1994)
How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry, (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1999)
Responsive Reading, (1999)
'Introduction' in John Keats, Complete Poems and Selected Letters of John Keats, (New York: Modern Library, 2001)
The Demon and the Angel: Searching for the Source of Artistic Expression, (New York: Harcourt Brace, 2002)
Poet's Choice, (New York: Harcourt, 2006)
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Edward Hirsch Poems
A hook shot kisses the rim and hangs there, helplessly, but doesn't drop, and for once our gangly starting center boxes out his man and times his jump
In Memoriam Paul Celan
Lay these words into the dead man's grave next to the almonds and black cherries--- tiny skulls and flowering blood-drops, eyes, and Thou, O bitterness that pillows his head.
For the Sleepwalkers
Tonight I want to say something wonderful for the sleepwalkers who have so much faith in their legs, so much faith in the invisible
After a Long Insomniac Night
I walked down to the sea in the early morning after a long insomniac night. I climbed over the giant gull-colored rocks and moved past the trees,
Tonight when I knelt down next to our cat, Zooey, And put my fingers into her clean cat's mouth, And rubbed her swollen belly that will never know kittens, And watched her wriggle onto her side, pawing the air,
Edward Hopper and the House by the Railr...
Out here in the exact middle of the day, This strange, gawky house has the expression Of someone being stared at, someone holding His breath underwater, hushed and expectant;
Fall, falling, fallen. That's the way the season Changes its tense in the long-haired maples That dot the road; the veiny hand-shaped leaves Redden on their branches (in a fiery competition
At this hour the soul floats weightlessly through the city streets, speechless and invisible, astonished by the smoky blend of grays and golds seeping out of the air, the dark half-tones
Early Sunday Morning
I used to mock my father and his chums for getting up early on Sunday morning and drinking coffee at a local spot but now I’m one of those chumps.
I'm Going to Start Living Like a Mystic
Today I am pulling on a green wool sweater and walking across the park in a dusky snowfall. The trees stand like twenty-seven prophets in a field, each a station in a pilgrimage—silent, pondering.
Lay Back the Darkness
My father in the night shuffling from room to room on an obscure mission through the hallway. Help me, spirits, to penetrate his dream and ease his restless passage.
The Skokie Theater
Twelve years old and lovesick, bumbling and terrified for the first time in my life, but strangely hopeful, too, and stunned, definitely stunned—I wanted to cry,
Don’t desert me just because I stayed up last night watching The Lost Weekend.
What the Last Evening Will Be Like
You're sitting at a small bay window in an empty café by the sea. It's nightfall, and the owner is locking up, though you're still hunched over the radiator,
Early Sunday Morning
I used to mock my father and his chums
for getting up early on Sunday morning
and drinking coffee at a local spot
but now I’m one of those chumps.
No one cares about my old humiliations
but they go on dragging through my sleep
like a string of empty tin cans rattling
behind an abandoned car.