Tag Archives: edward hirsch


Happy National Poetry Day! In the US, this is the day we celebrate all forms of poetry—the perfect opportunity to share some of my recent favorites. All three are by Edward Hirsch, and I have the Cake & Hyperbull show to blame for that. Co-hostess Amy Zoellers and I have started a challenge each show where we pick a random form out what has become one of my favorites, but it’s $160 for the hardback and $17 for the Kindle version. I sprung for the ebook. So my number one favorite poetry craft book as of today is…

A Poet’s Glossary by Edward Hirsch And here’s why (from Amazon): “Hirsch has delved deeply into the poetic traditions of the world, returning with an inclusive, international compendium. Moving gracefully from the bards of ancient Greece to the revolutionaries of Latin America, from small formal elements to large mysteries, he provides thoughtful definitions for the most important lyrical vocabulary… shot through with the enthusiasm, authority, and sheer delight that made How to Read a Poem so beloved, A Poet’s Glossary is a new classic.” At $160 —$17 for an ebook—if you ever see this in a used bookshop, grab it. You can read more about it on Amazon here.

Which brings me to why this second book is a new favorite, even though I just ordered it. The Essential Poet’s Glossary by Edward Hirsch! Yes! When I went to Amazon today to drool over the expensive original, I found this new version published for a very affordable $9.99. Thank you, Mr. Hirsch—for the good of poetry-kind!

From Amazon: When Edward Hirsch’s A Poet’s Glossary was first published in 2014, it was hailed as “an instant classic that belongs on the bookshelf of every serious poet and literature student.” Now Hirsch selects the most important material from that extraordinary volume for The Essential Poet’s Glossary (The Washington Post)… knowing how a poem works is crucial to unlocking its meaning—entries will deepen readers’ relationships with their favorite poems and open greater levels of understanding in each new poem they encounter.” Read more about it on Amazon here.

And because I tend to go on tangents, my final favorite lately is also by Hirsch: How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love with Poetry. I’ve been going through this one slowly with the intent to write a review for next National Poetry Month (April 2022). I bought it because I really wanted a hard copy of The Poet’s Glossary, but $160. This was my consolation book. I haven’t gotten far into it, but I can see why Hirsch can command high prices. I look forward to sharing the review.

From Amazon: “Read a poem to yourself in the middle of the night. Turn on a single lamp and read it while you’re alone in an otherwise dark room or while someone sleeps next to you. Say it over to yourself in a place where silence reigns and the din of culture—the constant buzzing noise that surrounds you—has momentarily stopped. This poem has come from a great distance to find you.” So begins this astonishing book… a masterful work by a master poet, this brilliant summation of poetry and human nature will speak to all readers who long to place poetry in their lives but don’t know how to read it.” Read more about it on Amazon here.

Those are the three poetry books I’ve been obsessed with lately. Have you read any books by Hirsch? I haven’t read any of his actual poetry books yet, but I think I need to. If him discussing poetry is this good, I can only imagine how fantastic his poetry is. I just hope they aren’t all $160. That would really Hirsch. 😂


On yesterday’s Cake & Hyperbull, Amy Zoellers randomly picked a poetry challenge from her copy of A Poet’s Glossary by Edward Hirsch. This last month it was Flarf, and we shared our Flarf creations live.

What do I think of Flarf? I love it. The idea of using Google to mine poetry appeals to me. It reminds me of a sculptor carving a woman out of a block of marble. Flarf is poets carving poetry from a block of search engine. I’m posting my Flarf at Poetrynook.com tomorrow, or you can watch the show and hear it here.

Now, on to a new month and a new challenge! This time Amy randomly paged through A Poet’s Glossary and picked “canzonet.” Holy Hell, what the heck is that? So far I have found little on the internet except that Oscar Wilde wrote one. This is fine… but how do I write one?

The only thing I have to go from is this description (below) from A Poet’s Glossary. Oh, and we decided writing the mysterious canzonet isn’t enough. Our creations must include the phrase “My beret is full of questions” as well.

If you want to participate, send me your canzonet here and I will read all I on the next Cake & Hyperbull—every first Saturday.

Are you a canzonet expert? Feel free to post any helpful links or insight in the comments.

From A Poet’s Glossary by Edward Hirsch