Edward Hirsch - THE HEART OF AMERICAN POETRY

Join celebrated poet and Guggenheim Memorial Foundation president Edward Hirsch as he presents The Heart of American Poetry, a collection of deeply personal readings of forty essential American poems from the past four centuries. Ed will speak and read from the book, followed by a q&a and signing.

While this event is free and open to all, we ask that you fill out the RSVP form at the bottom of this page so that we can plan accordingly. See you there!


We live in unsettled times. What is America and who are we as a people? How do we understand the dreams and betrayals that have shaped the American experience? For poet and critic Edward Hirsch, poetry opens up new ways of answering these questions, of reconnecting with one another and with what’s best in us.

In this landmark new book from Library of America, Hirsch offers deeply personal readings of forty essential American poems we thought we knew—from Anne Bradstreet’s “The Author to Her Book” and Phillis Wheatley’s “To S.M. a Young African Painter, on seeing his Works” to Garrett Hongo’s “Ancestral Graves, Kahuku” and Joy Harjo’s “Rabbit Is Up to Tricks”—exploring how these poems have sustained his own life and how they might uplift our diverse but divided nation. 

“This is a personal book about American poetry,” writes Hirsch, “but I hope it is more than a personal selection. I have chosen forty poems from our extensive archive and songbook that have been meaningful to me, part of my affective life, my critical consideration, but I have also tried to be cognizant of the changing playbook in American poetry, which is not fixed but fluctuating, ever in flow, to pay attention to the wider consideration, the appreciable reach of our literature. This is a book of encounters and realizations.”


Edward Hirsch is a celebrated poet and champion for poetry. He is the author of ten books of poems and six books of prose and has received numerous awards and fellowships, including a MacArthur Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Rome Prize, a Pablo Neruda Presidential Medal of Honor, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for literature. He serves as president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and lives in Brooklyn.

Event date: 
Wednesday, May 11, 2022 - 6:00pm
Event address: 
8 Broadway
Newport, RI 02840-2938
The Heart of American Poetry Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781598537260
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Library of America - April 19th, 2022

RSVP Form: 

Edward Hirsch Book Signing RSVP