Apologizing to Strangers

April 11, 2019

Edward Hirsch used to write at night, now he writes in the mornings. He bumps into strangers often, because of his eye disease. And he thinks poems tell you things about people’s deep interiority that can be difficult to square with their public personae when you meet them. Asked, in an interview with Ben Purkert, how he thinks of his reader, Hirsch says, “the oddity of reading poetry is that there is a remarkable intimacy established between two people who do not know each other, who are physically removed from each other by space and by time. And this, somehow, enables a kind of connection that’s difficult to establish in ordinary social life.”

Image credit: Michael Lionstar

is a staff writer for The Millions. Born and raised in New York, she now lives in the Midwest, where she is a PhD student in American literature.

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