Edward Hirsch Poetry Reading — April 21 —

13 Apr

Edward Hirsch
Monday, April 21

Intiman Theatre

Edward Hirsch is perhaps best known for the runaway bestseller, How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry (1999). This accessible guide to the world of poetry won the hearts of poets and non-poets alike and catapulted Hirsch into the spotlight. Born in Chicago in 1950, he attended Grinnell College and the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a Ph.D. in folklore (the residue of which we find in his contemporary takes on classic myths). He is also the author of six collections of poetry, including Wild Gratitude (1987), which garnered him a National Book Critics Circle Award. He is the recipient of a MacArthur “genius” award and of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He lives in New York City where he is the president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Lack Back the Darkness

My father in the night shuffling from room to room
on an obscure mission through the hallway.

Help me, spirits, to penetrate his dream
and ease his restless passage.

Lay back the darkness for a salesman
who could charm everything but the shadows,

an immigrant who stands on the threshold
of a vast night

without his walker or his cane
and cannot remember what he meant to say,

though his right arm is raised, as if in prophecy,
while his left shakes uselessly in warning.

My father in the night shuffling from room to room
is no longer a father or a husband or a son,

But a boy standing on the edge of a forest
listening to the distant cry of wolves,

to wild dogs,
to primitive wingbeats shuddering in the treetops.


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