Since 1991 a group of Folger Poetry supporters have selected a poet to read for the season. The poet selected is then invited to read from their own work as well as the poets they cite as influences. This year’s poet is Edward Hirsch.
Poetry is the social act of a solitary person. When you’re reading a poem you’re not alone with your own feelings. I have always found that comforting.
A celebrated poet and tireless advocate for poetry, Edward Hirsch has received numerous awards and fellowships, including a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Ingram Merrill Foundation Award, a Pablo Neruda Presidential Medal of Honor, the Prix de Rome, and an Academy of Arts and Letters Award. In 2008, he was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
Edward Hirsch’s first collection of poems, For the Sleepwalkers, received the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award from New York University and the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets. His second collection, Wild Gratitude, won the National Book Critics Award.
He has published ten books of poems total and five prose books, including A Poet’s Glossary, the result of decades of passionate study, Poet’s Choice, which consists of his popular columns from the Washington Post Book World, and How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry, a national bestseller. He is the editor of Theodore Roethke’s Selected Poems and co-editor of The Making of a Sonnet: A Norton Anthology. He also edits the series “The Writer’s World.” His most recent book is 100 Poems to Break Your Heart.
Edward Hirsch taught for six years in the English Department at Wayne State University and seventeen years in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston. He has been president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation since 2002.