Lay Back the Darkness

Lay Back the Darkness

by Edward Hirsch

Paperback(Reprint)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375710025
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/14/2004
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 88
Product dimensions: 5.82(w) x 8.35(h) x 0.38(d)

About the Author

Edward Hirsch has published five previous books of poems: For the Sleepwalkers (1981), Wild Gratitude (1986), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Night Parade (1989), Earthly Measures (1994), and On Love (1998). He has also written three prose books, including How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry (1999), a national best-seller, and The Demon and the Angel: Searching for the Source of Artistic Inspiration (2002). A frequent contributor to leading magazines and periodicals, including The New Yorker, DoubleTake, and American Poetry Review, he also writes the Poet’s Choice column for the Washington Post Book World. He has received the Prix de Rome, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature, and a MacArthur Fellowship. A professor in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston for seventeen years, he is now President of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.


From the Hardcover edition.

Read an Excerpt

I Am Going to Start Living Like a Mystic

Today I am pulling on a green wool sweater and walking across the park in a dusky snowfall.

The trees stand like twenty-seven prophets in a field,
each a station in a pilgrimage--silent, pondering.

Blue flakes of light falling across their bodies are the ciphers of a secret, an occultation.

I will examine their leaves as pages in a text and consider the bookish pigeons, students of winter.

I will kneel on the track of a vanquished squirrel and stare into a blank pond for the figure of Sophia.

I shall begin scouring the sky for signs as if my whole future were constellated upon it.

I will walk home alone with the deep alone,
a disciple of shadows, in praise of the mysteries.


From the Hardcover edition.

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