Ars Poetica VIII (Precision and surprise)

In his introduction to Best American Poetry 2016, Edward Hirsch writes:

Poetry is an art form that continues to thrive in unexpected ways, engaging and evading its own history, setting out on unknown paths. We live, perhaps we have always lived, in perilous times, and stand on the edge of an abyss, which absorbs us. We are called to task. Poetry enlarges our experience. It brings us greater consciousness, fuller being. It stands on the side of life, our enthrallment.

Best American Poetry 2016, edited by David Lehman and Edward Hirsch, is the 29th annual edition of American poetry. As an anthology it is wide-ranging in subject and style; making it a book of discovery and also a compendium for testing one’s own limit of understanding.


Edward Hirsch, a MacArthur Fellow, has published nine books of poems, most recently Gabriel: A Poem (2014), a book-length elegy, and The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems(2010), which brings together 35 years of work. He has also published five prose books, among them A Poet’s Glossary (2014), a complete compendium, and How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry (1999), a national bestseller.


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