Books on How to Read Poetry

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* Best books on reading poetry - books you can use without paying the big bucks for an MFA program:

Buy Hirsch How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry, Edward Hirsch.
(1999, 0-15-100419-6)

Delightful. Recommended.
Hirsch presents poems that he cares deeply about, and that are "emblematic because they suggest something crucial about the nature of poetry itself." Hirsch writes, "I have listened hard and let the poems inhabit me. This book is a record of my initiations, encounters, responses, experiences. It is a record of my exaltations."

Buy Koch Making Your Own Days, Kenneth Koch.
(1998, 0-684-82438-8)

Lucid and enthralling book on the pleasures of reading and writing poetry. Koch celebrates the idea of poetry as a separate language, and thereby clarifies how poems are written and can be read. Entrancing selection of poems from Sappho (7th century B.C.) through Li Bai (8th century C.E.) to Arthur Rimbaud (19th century), plus many modern poems.

Koch's own remarkable One Train May Hide Another (1994) is one of the finest modern poems - it still takes away my breath. About "One Train," his publisher (Knopf) says "it is both a treatise on how to read poetry and an awareness-heightening celebration of the hidden and the unexpected." Koch died on July 6th, 2002. His publisher also says, "Koch was not just a prolific poet, but a teacher of poetry, both in his years as a professor at Columbia and in the projects he undertook to open poetry to readers of all ages and backgrounds."

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