"Reading poetry is an adventure in renewal, a creative act, a perpetual beginning, a rebirth of wonder." - Edward Hirsch
In a poem near the end of his new book, "Stranger by Night," Edward Hirsch walks out of a cemetery, moves through a crowd of nearby mourners and pallbearers, and steps around a procession of black sedans on a mission to get the hell out of there. Feeling liberated, he waves to a group of beer-drinking teenagers in the parking lot across the street. Life and death in reverse.
A peerless advocate and spokesman for poetry, Hirsch has written 10 books of poems and 5 books of prose including "A Poet's Glossary" and the national bestseller, "How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry." In his new collection, on the eve of his seventieth year, he muses over age and loss with an intimate, soulful and unsparing gaze. The book begins with tender elegies for old friends and fellow poets like Philip Levine, William Meredith and Mark Strand, before turning away from the darkness and turning back the clock. He swings into sensory remembrance of his early travels, teaching stints and first hard-labor jobs to regain some of the fire and vitality of youth before returning to the present with new resolve. "Don't write elegies anymore," he tells himself, "get up and breathe."
Hirsch has received numerous awards and fellowships, including the National Book Critics Circle Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature, as well as being named a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. He taught in the English Department at Wayne State University and the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston - and currently serves as president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.