Friday, April 3, 2009

Poetry Friday: Edward Hirsch and Quotes of the Day

For National Poetry Month, I'm posting a poetry quote each day, but seeing as it's Poetry Friday, I have to up the stakes.

I give you this marvelous passages of quotes from Edward Hirsch's How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry. He is talking of metaphor, and shares this series of examples from other poets, finishing up with some zingers of his own.

"The poem is a capsule where we wrap up our punishable secrets (William Carlos Williams). A poem is a well-wrought urn (Cleanth Brooks), a verbal icon (W.K. Wimsatt). A poem is a walk (A.R. Ammons); a poem is a meteor (Wallace Stevens). A poem might be called a pseudo-person. Like a person it is unique and addresses the reader personally (W. H. Auden). A poem is a hand, a hook, a prayer. It is a soul in action."

Poetry Friday is hosted today by


  1. Thanks for these. I'm going to have to look for Hirsch's book!

  2. These are great, Sara. Thank you!

    (p.s. Do you have Ted Kooser's quote on what a poem is?)

  3. Ooo I love this! I think I'm going to have to collect these quotes. I am envisioning a little book.... with doodle illustrations? Hmmmmmm

    Adding you to my list of NPM bloggers.

  4. I'm not sure I have the Kooser quote, Karen. Send it or post it! Thanks.

  5. Prayer. Definitely a prayer.

  6. Oh I SO needed this book rec! Thank you.

  7. These are great.

    I'm thinking now of E.B. White. He offers a definition and some discussion of poetry in the intro to 'Poems and Sketches of EB White.'

    Wendell Berry's "How to Write a Poem" comes to mind too -- it's online and googlable. (?)

    See? You've started a train of thought, and now I can't stop.

    Off I go without further cluttering of your comment thread...

  8. I love them all, but today, the poem as a walk strikes a particularly strong chord.

  9. He said, "A poem is a record of a discovery." :-)

  10. Sometimes a poem is a your ribs to make you laugh, or in the back of your throat to make you cry.

    Great idea for Poetry Month!

  11. Oh--""The poem is a capsule where we wrap up our punishable secrets (William Carlos Williams). "

    Wow. I love that.


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