Homework DUE: Mon. Sept. 13

Week 2/3     (No Class on Tues. 9/7)  Assignment Due: Monday, September 13

Read Edward Hirsch’s “How to Read a Poem”  (in 16 brief sections)

Post a one paragraph response that briefly summarizes one section.  DO NOT repeat a section another student has posted on (to post go to “comment” icon above, type your comment, and post it).

Watch Robert Pinsky’s   “The Art of Poetry”

Post a one paragraph response to ONE of the poem videos from Pinsky’s Favorite Poem Project.  See if you can connect the poem with what you learned from Edmund Hirsch and/or Robert Pinsky.

Put both of your responses into ONE post (Your post should consist of two paragraphs).


  1. Namkha T Oedzer

    “Poems are like messages in a bottle sent out with little hope of finding a recipient. Those of us who find and read poems become their unknown addresses.”
    Poems are messages that are written for the sake of laying down ones heavy emotions, to relieve. There is minimal hope in finding someone who will go through the letters that are set to paper. The poet does not intentionally send his readers a copy of his literature, we (the readers) encounter them by chance and share the poets emotions and feel what the poet felt while writing the poem. This mysterious relationship between a poet and the reader is what makes poetry magical, and the motivation in writing the poem without the consideration of an audience, is freedom. If the poet was writing to a particular audience, he would have to consider many things such as ‘political correctness’ but since there is no intended audience, the poet can scatter his heart on the page.

    From the song of the open road.
    Many passengers, all very distinct in the context of their social ranks, motivation of travel and destinations, walk on the same road. All are equal while traveling, all are welcomed by the open road. None are discarded and although everyone is a stranger to each other, they all share the same road. This is similar to what I was mentioning earlier. The aimless poet can be compared to the road here as her poems are open for all to read, she does not have a specific audience. The unknown readers of the poem can be compared to the travelers on the open road, each of them reading the poem with their own unique motivation and situation like the passengers, each with their own unique destinations.

  2. Maribel Matos

    In the last segment of Edward Hirsch’s “How to Read a Poem”, which is entitled “It Is Something of an Accident That You Are the Reader and I the Writer”, Hirsch explains how a poem is not only a medium of expression for the author but for the reader as well. The act of writing and reading a poem is a mutual transaction, a willingly formed mental connection between receptive parties. In that sense, a writer sketches out the canvas and the reader fills it in with their own colors—the writer creates the body and the reader gives it the breath of life. Writers output their thoughts and understanding of their own worlds in the form of sigils and readers then make the decision to decipher those sigils into their own visions of that world, inviting themselves into a writer’s universe and recreating it in their own image. In the segment Hirsch also refers back to an excerpt from Jean-Paul Sartre’s “What Is Literature” that defines the concept best: “There is no art except for and by others.”. The creation of art exists in it being witnessed and willingly interpreted. What is a spectacle without a witness?

    Students and educators are often great examples of willing spectators to art, choosing to open their minds to it. The overlap between artist and educator is just as common as the one between the overlap of artist and student, with a good example being poet Robert Pinsky, who created a course known as “The Art of Poetry”. In the course, Robert Pinsky makes it a point to describe it as a way to introduce people to poetry, especially “people interested in poetry because they are intimidated by it”, noting that “our goal is to make it intellectually rigorous, and socially welcoming, and friendly”. While intimidation may not be the most encouraging way to come into contact with a specific medium, it already means the reader is more willing to interact and connect with it than they initially realize. There’s an old saying along the lines of “there’s a thin line between love and hate” and just like that, it can be said that there is a thin line between intimidation and admiration. Someone who was truly unreceptive to seeing something as art would have no interest in it, with indifference being the real coffin on the willingness to learn and understand something. Getting over the hurdle of intimidation is an important one, especially with the heavy burden of the inaccessibility that often comes with things that are deemed as being “intellectual pursuits”. One of the ways that Robert Pinsky introduces the art of poetry to students in his courses is by encouraging them to make their own personalized anthology of poetry that they enjoy. In his, Pinsky highlights Pat Parker’s “Let Me Come to You Naked”. The poem is relatively short and very accessible in word choice, with the most complex one being “callused”. The poem itself is very true to its name, with direct wording and no “pretentiousness” in how it presents. The poem truly does ‘come to you naked’, written as one would casually write to a lover. The poem is raw in its emotions and imagery, jumping from the imagery of laying beside the corpse of something as insignificant and ‘repulsive’ as a snail to calling up a much stronger form quaking with hatred. The poem is naked in its sentiment and incredibly relatable to anyone who’s experienced the rawness of their own vulnerability and the pain of their anger, and found strength and authenticity in both. To be naked, and witnessed by a willing spectator.

  3. Lorince Pierre-Louis

    In Edward Hirsch’s poem “Stored Magic”, he talks about mesmerizing time meaning catching people’s attention. Edward wants his poem to feel eternal as he states that “The poet is incited to create work that can outdistance time and surmount distance, that can bridge the gulf–the chasm—between people otherwise unknown to each other. Edward wants his readers to be creative and tell their own past experiences. Edward states a poem from Robert Graves in “The White Goddess”, it states “True poetic practice implies a mind so miraculously attuned and illuminated that it can form words, by a chain of more-than-coincidences, into a living entity—a poem that goes about on its own affecting readers with its stored magic.” Edward wants his readers to practice on their poetry and to continue to polish their craft and also keep the readers of their poems guessing to understand the true meaning of their poems. When we read a poem for the first time we’re all going to have a different perspective of the poems meaning, but its until we read it again and again that we might have a different understanding to the same poem that was read. Stored Magic is the ability to create a poem and make the poem have different understandings and to make it feel everlasting.
    In Robert Pinsky’s “The Art of Poetry”, he highlights that to understand and art you can’t just find what part of the art is appealing to you but what your examples of the art are. In the poem “Traveler, there is no road” by Antonio Machado, he wants the reader to understand that you have to create your own path as there is no road to follow. This poem connects to “The Art of Poetry” and “Stored Magic” as poem and the video talk about how the reader has put their own insight and example from what they’ve learned. “Stored Magic” wants the reader to polish their craft, “The Art of Poetry” wants the reader to create anthologies, and “Traveler, there is no road” wants the reader to trailblaze their own path. All three are connected as it wants the reader to implement their definition of poetry.

  4. Mehreen Khanom

    The Immense Intimacy, the Intimate Immensity
    Poetry holds so much power like no other. Poetry is different from any other writings including lyrics, letters, stories, essays, and more, as it states “poetry and the kind of knowledge it provides cannot be duplicated elsewhere”. Poetry isn’t just about reading but acknowledging the meaning behind what you are reading. Reading poetry with full understanding and passion will take you to a different world. You won’t understand poetry if you don’t connect with it. Poetry is a form of communication and is its own language, in order to understand it you have to be open-minded. I personally believe poetry chooses its audience rather than the readers picking their choice of poems. Poetry is soul-touching and is an elegant form of communication.

    I created my own meaning of the poem “The Waking” by Theodore Roethke even though this poem may have multiple meanings. As Edward Hirsch said the reader must have a great imagination to connect to the poem and everyone have different imaginations that will lead to different meanings. It repeats “I wake to sleep and take my waking slow”, which might mean that in life your mind wakes up every time you take a new step because that’s when your life starts a new journey. When we fall asleep we can enter a different dimension where we can travel wherever we desire. Same way in our awakening life, our life can take us wherever we desire even through our ups and downs. Life is like a scary movie, you have to keep going and surviving in order to get to “the end” even though you may get jump scares. The poem rhymes which adds to the lyrical aspect. Edwards states the pleasure of poetry comes from sound, which now makes sense.

  5. nada

    In The Beginning Is The Relation
    A lyric poem is a strenuous and intense form of communication between strangers. Edward Hirsch claims it to be one of the most unique ways of communicating. Reading poetry is an act of correspondence between relations, to carry us into healthy connections with one another. As you are reading, you connect deeply with the words and yourself. Poetry offers us the gift of intimacy, interiority, privacy, and participation. Hirsch explains that poetry is a voicing, form of expression as well as a musical. He emphasizes the tranquility of poetry through the way he feels when he recites them. He endures the words. He sees the interaction between the poet, the poem, and the reader as a dynamic unfolding rather than a static thing. “a relation between an I and a You.”

    John Dorety is a construction worker for the Boston gas company. He was inspired by Whitman’s poem  “Song of Myself”. The uplifting motive in the poem was the most important part for Dorety. The fact that Whitman put into words what he was feeling, the sort of connection that I mentioned before in a lyric poem. Not only did Whitman talk about laborers in his poem but Dorety felt Whitman speaking directly to him. The connection between the reader and the writer was most significant for this entity.

  6. Deshira Kaja

    In Edward Hirsch’s poem “Give a Common Word the Spell,” he talks about poetry being a form of language that is relatable amongst the author and the reader. Poetry is very precise and accurate in a very discrete and unique form. It uses many indirect language which conveys a very strong message behind it. Language has many forms of expression; some being poetry and speech. Speech contains many solid products used in society which can lead to many different meanings. Lyrical poems often tend to twist our mindsets or make certain words come off as something different or in other words, change the meaning of the word. In Edward Hirsch’s poem, he says ” The lyric is cognate with those childish forms, the riddle, and the nursery rhyme, with whatever form of verbal art turns language inside out and draws attention to its categories.” Often times rhymes draws a lot of attention to the reader because it makes the poem more exciting to read.

    One of the videos that I chose to connect to Edward Hirsch’s poem was “Absolution” by Siegfried Sassoon. Siegfried Sassoon was a famous word war 1 poet. This poem was very meaningful to blank because at the time she was working at a veterans hospital and a lot of the patients has post traumatic stress disorder from the Vietnam war and was trying to get some inside into that condition. She though looking at war poetry might yield some interesting insides. She came across the “Absolution” poem and realized it was about the innocence many solders have before they go to war. This poem is powerful because it shows Sassoon’s attitude to war. He was wounded in the Word war 1 battle and spent most of his life speaking against it. I can relate Sassoon’s poem to Edward Hirsch’s because as mentioned earlier Edward Hirsch talks about how poems can have a very powerful meaning to the words that are conveyed. Siegfried Sassoon uses a lot of powerful words to describe his trauma from the war.

  7. brenda almonte

    The Immense Intimacy, the Intimate Immensity

    The world now, I feel, does not see poetry in the same manner that people did in the past. Poetry enriches and deepens real-life experiences, I believe that poetry can help you find intimacy inside yourself. Poems have the ability to arouse our senses and emotions because they were written with similar sentiments in mind. Hirsch talks about poetry like it is something that we should be addicted to. I do believe that good poetry makes you feel alive and whole but poetry cannot make someone’s life perfect. His argument is well written, yet it appears to be overstated because he then develops into his need for poetry. On the other hand, I don’t think you can comprehend Mr. Hirsch’s comments until you’ve been immersed in the passion of poets and their works.

    In Robert Pinsky’s “The Art of Poetry”, He emphasizes that in order to comprehend art, you must first comprehend not only why the art appeals to you, but also what your examples of art are. “Minstrel Man” by Langston Hughes caught my attention,it has a lot of emotions and I believe that many individuals can connect to it. We pretend that everything is well by walking around with a smile on our faces. Writing poetry allows you to express yourself through the written word, to go more deeply into your emotions, thoughts, and ideas. The poet is describing pain and suffering, Hughes affirms that by masking his anguish with smiles and laughing, people would believe he was content.

  8. Daniella Santangelo

    The Wave Always Returns

    Edward Hirsch describes this poem as a poem that brings the readers in touch with all five of their senses. Like the ocean, when reading this poem we engage in its flow. The rhythm of the poem itself is captivating. Hirsch says “The poem moves from the eye to the ear, to the inner ear, the inner eye. It drenches us in the particulars of our senses, it moves us through the articulations of touch, taste, and scent”. Poetry tends to allow readers to experiment with their senses. Lyric poetry is described as composition and muscle, just like a wave. This poem is comparing the lyrical element of it to the waves of the sea. The waves of the sea come and go it is all the same water but a different wave will always return after the last. Even though it is different, it is still a wave of the sea.

    In Robert Pinsky’s “The Art of Poetry”, the video explains poetry to be one of the oldest forms of communication. Poetry allows you to be elevated beyond a conventional relationship to the world. A student in the video explains poetry as something that is not straightforward or “straight to the point”. Instead it is allowing readers to see the poets point from all different angles. The Wave Always Returns is a perfect example of this concept because there is not an obvious point of the poem. It can be percieved in a number of ways from different people who have different experiences. This poem is extremely engaging and brings the readers in touch with themselves by exploring their senses.

  9. Mark Noonan


  10. Premnauth Ramchan

    Mere Air, These Words, but Delicious to Hear

    It’s unusual to understand a perspective from a different person without language, communication, and senses. Edward Hirsch spoke about these words (“Mere Air, These Words, but Delicious to Hear”) as they eased to his ears like honey to our mouths. He tells us how much joy it brings to our ears, just to listen to poetry. Just to have poetry. Not only that but he said to us “I feel the words creating a rhythm, a music, a spell, a mood, a shape, a form.” Every word, every syllable, and every letter that joins to make one unit can be so impacting, that your emotions, your thoughts, and your way of hearing will feel blessed in that brief moment of listening. “Writing fixes the evanescence of sound.” Said Hirsch.
    I wanted to bring in one more thing that Hirsch mentioned that I can’t express enough. How beautiful is it that just the words, can create the sound that moves through us?

    Robert Pinsky Said that poetry is Metrical Engineering. I believe that all the way just because I personally know that writing can really be used as a tool and a lifestyle. It’s very amazing to know something, but to learn more is even better especially from a different perspective. All the students from the video shared their pov and ideal logic towards poetry. What I didn’t understand is why do poetry seems special to people to those that don’t read or write poetry themselves? John Doherty read the poem “From Song of Myself” and he told us “They just looked like a bunch of words just out of order and out of place.” So I thought to myself, What Makes a reader focus and listen to what they read? People can hear their thoughts, so that shows whatever you read, You can hear yourself read it in your mind. Knowing this I came to the conclusion it’s about the connection with yourself from the poem, the words. John said “Once you’ve come to understand it, You’ve achieved something,” So this shows me it’s not about just reading the poem, it’s also about the will to love the words, the will to understand and put forth yourself into the sound of your own thoughts to connect with the poem.

  11. Svetlana

    In Edward Hirsch’s “Winged Type”, it is about how appealing a poem is to the eye. It has a shapely dimension and relates to the plastic arts, especially art forms such as painting. Hirsch mentions the poetry of Marianne Moore, who uses symmetrical stanzas in her poems. Moore’s poems are written in crystalline syllabics, and look as if they’ve been written on a typewriter. Hirsch states, “The words look as if they were scoured and dipped in acid, broken down into particles, into constituent parts, and then reconstructed, cleansed and molded, on the page” (Hirsch). This helps connect literary and visual aspects of the shaped poem. The form in which poetry is written helps create a sensation and deeper meaning behind the poem. The shape of a poem helps create a unique sense of identity, which a reader can interpret and connect to in many different ways.
    One of the poems from Pinsky’s Favorite Poem Project is “Absolution” by Siegfried Sassoon. As soldiers prepare to go to war, they learn to see the beauty in everything that life has to offer. The person’s perspective changed after they’ve served in the war. They believe that war was very destructive, and wounded them in many ways. There was a lot of anger and loss that went through because of war. However, we should learn to forgive ourselves for the sin of war. This experience has left them with more happiness, wisdom, and freedom. This poem can be connected to what we learned from Edward Hirsch because of how powerful and the meaningful message behind this poem. This poem expresses the anger and traumas that soldiers experience due to war. They went into it with a much more innocent outlook on war than what they came out with once they finished serving. It has a moving and powerful message which readers can connect with in many ways.

  12. Albert F

    In the poem Winged Type by Edward Hirsch it states “Listen if it rains while regret and disdain weep to an ancient music Listen to the bonds fall off which hold you above and below” (Hirsch, 2006). This poem really relates to the idea that is stated by Robert Pinsky “What poetry can do is, come out of each person’s somatic, physical imagination.” (Pinsky, 2016). This relates to the poem that I read by Hirsch because it is obvious from the presentation that he was trying to portray an image. He was trying to set the image as words going down the paper vertically, giving the impression that it’s raining. It gives this feeling of sitting at a windowsill, feeling blue and reminiscing about things you used to have with people. Obviously the vocabulary makes it seem darker but the general image that is conveyed is the feeling of being down. This is the way that Edward Hirsch uses that physical imagination to make a scene.
    One way I can relate this to myself is a poem that I wrote around april. Its called NO, it conveys a feeling of being uneasy.
    You’re “What is this?” The spoon
    Hanging Your Your friends starts to go around
    with closest staring you while your nerves get a
    Your friend down as if mind of their own.
    Friends brings you were in This weird shitty looking
    your A new a spaceship. brown water starts
    Backyard. Different Then you to make your friends
    A bag to the realize lose it in front of
    Couple gathering. What type your face. “I am in the
    Of They all of party wrong place” I think to
    Beers reach into this is myself. Peer pressure
    Getting The bag and I want starts to unfold as
    Cracked pulling out NO parts a couple more of your
    Open, a spoon of this. Friends begin to fully
    And and brown you get lose consciousness.
    Passed powder.goosebumps The last awake friend
    Around. You wonder. Also asks “do you want some?”
    This poem relates to both what Edward Hirsch and Robert Pinsky said because it uses imagination to create a scene, on a piece of paper, laptop, or wherever.

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