Interview with Edward Hirsch

2.25.10

Poet and President of the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Edward Hirsch, sits down with Big Think for a thirty-four minute in-depth video interview.

Big Think: What is your advice for an aspiring poet? (19min 00sec)

Edward Hirsch: The way to become a poet is to read poetry and to imitate what you read and to read passionately and widely and in as involved a way as you can.  It’s not important—it’s not necessary that you read everything.  What is necessary is that you care about things that you read and that you find something that really matters to you and you try and make something like that.  And I think that as long as you have other poets before you and that you can learn from them, then it’s always open ended for you.  There’s always some place to go.  You don’t need workshops, you don’t need friends necessarily, you can be befriended by literature itself.  Emily Dickinson calls previous poets her kinsmen of the shelf.  You can always be consoled by your kinsmen of the shelf and you can participate in poetry by going to them and by trying to make something worthy of them.  Gertrude Stein said, “I write for myself and strangers.”  I would say I write for myself, strangers and the great dead.