Edward Hirsch is a celebrated poet and peerless advocate for poetry. He was born in Chicago in 1950—his accent makes it impossible for him to hide his origins—and educated at Grinnell College and the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a Ph.D. in Folklore. His devotion to poetry is lifelong.
He 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.
Photo by Michael Lionstar
Edward Hirsch’s first collection of poems, For the Sleepwalkers (1981), 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 (1986), won the National Book Critics Award.
Since then, he has published six additional books of poems: The Night Parade (1989), Earthly Measures (1994),On Love (1998), Lay Back the Darkness (2003), Special Orders (2008), and The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems (2010), which brings together thirty-five years of poems.
Hirsch is also the author of five prose books, including A Poet’s Glossary (2014), the result of decades of passionate study, Poet’s Choice (2006), which consists of his popular columns from the Washington Post Book World, and How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry (1999), a national bestseller. He is the editor of Theodore Roethke’s Selected Poems (2005) and co-editor of The Making of a Sonnet: A Norton Anthology (2008). He also edits the series “The Writer’s World” (Trinity University Press).
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 is now president of the
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.