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100 Poems to Break Your Heart

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100 of the most moving and inspiring poems of the last 200 years from around the world, a collection that will comfort and enthrall anyone trapped by grief or loneliness, selected by the award-winning, best-selling, and beloved author of How to Read a Poem Implicit in poetry is the idea that we are enriched by heartbreaks, by the recognition and understanding of suffering— 100 of the most moving and inspiring poems of the last 200 years from around the world, a collection that will comfort and enthrall anyone trapped by grief or loneliness, selected by the award-winning, best-selling, and beloved author of How to Read a Poem Implicit in poetry is the idea that we are enriched by heartbreaks, by the recognition and understanding of suffering—not just our own suffering but also the pain of others. We are not so much diminished as enlarged by grief, by our refusal to vanish, or to let others vanish, without leaving a record. And poets are people who are determined to leave a trace in words, to transform oceanic depths of feeling into art that speaks to others.   In 100 Poems to Break Your Heart, poet and advocate Edward Hirsch selects 100 poems, from the nineteenth century to the present, and illuminates them, unpacking context and references to help the reader fully experience the range of emotion and wisdom within these poems.   For anyone trying to process grief, loneliness, or fear, this collection of poetry will be your guide in trying times.


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100 of the most moving and inspiring poems of the last 200 years from around the world, a collection that will comfort and enthrall anyone trapped by grief or loneliness, selected by the award-winning, best-selling, and beloved author of How to Read a Poem Implicit in poetry is the idea that we are enriched by heartbreaks, by the recognition and understanding of suffering— 100 of the most moving and inspiring poems of the last 200 years from around the world, a collection that will comfort and enthrall anyone trapped by grief or loneliness, selected by the award-winning, best-selling, and beloved author of How to Read a Poem Implicit in poetry is the idea that we are enriched by heartbreaks, by the recognition and understanding of suffering—not just our own suffering but also the pain of others. We are not so much diminished as enlarged by grief, by our refusal to vanish, or to let others vanish, without leaving a record. And poets are people who are determined to leave a trace in words, to transform oceanic depths of feeling into art that speaks to others.   In 100 Poems to Break Your Heart, poet and advocate Edward Hirsch selects 100 poems, from the nineteenth century to the present, and illuminates them, unpacking context and references to help the reader fully experience the range of emotion and wisdom within these poems.   For anyone trying to process grief, loneliness, or fear, this collection of poetry will be your guide in trying times.

30 review for 100 Poems to Break Your Heart

  1. 5 out of 5

    Abbie | nerdyabbie

    ⭐️ 3.75 / 5 ⭐️ Just pretend to read this as if you’re John Keating from The Dead Poet’s Society, complete with your dark academia sweater, and you’ll have the time of your life. When I first requested this, I thought it was just going to be a nice compilation. Then, of course, I found out it was more of a commentary in addition to the poems. Anyway, after clearing up my confusion and reading the synopsis, I was expecting more of an emotional insight to the poetry with historical context - and whil ⭐️ 3.75 / 5 ⭐️ Just pretend to read this as if you’re John Keating from The Dead Poet’s Society, complete with your dark academia sweater, and you’ll have the time of your life. When I first requested this, I thought it was just going to be a nice compilation. Then, of course, I found out it was more of a commentary in addition to the poems. Anyway, after clearing up my confusion and reading the synopsis, I was expecting more of an emotional insight to the poetry with historical context - and while we did get some of that - there were more facts than feelings. And that did impact my reading enjoyment level. But in all honesty, I don’t think that’s what this book is about. It’s about information, more than anything. This was an intense dive into some of the world’s most angsty poets and their poetry. It was honestly so huge for a poetry book, and there were many times where I felt it could have been shorter. The writing was excellent, however, and I liked how informative it was. It’s not a book you read to enjoy unless poetry is your life. It’s a book you read for educational insight. It’s for the poetry die-hards, the ones who are in love with the history, facts, and technicality behind a poem. I did find the commentary on the poetry to drag at certain points, but it was a very informative read. So, all in all, did I enjoy it? Not really. But did I learn a lot? Yes! Big thank you to Netgalley + Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for sending me an ARC copy of this book!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alicia Bayer

    I started reading this book last month just before my wonderful mother-in-law died and finished it Friday, the day my wonderful father-in-law died. I certainly didn't need any help having my heart broken in the past month. My parents died when I was young and our family has been rocked with grief at losing both of my husband's parents and both of my children's beloved grandparents within 3 weeks of each other. None of us has any doubt that Chester died of a broken heart after losing his best fri I started reading this book last month just before my wonderful mother-in-law died and finished it Friday, the day my wonderful father-in-law died. I certainly didn't need any help having my heart broken in the past month. My parents died when I was young and our family has been rocked with grief at losing both of my husband's parents and both of my children's beloved grandparents within 3 weeks of each other. None of us has any doubt that Chester died of a broken heart after losing his best friend of 65 years. So it was perhaps a bad time to read a book that promises to break your heart. I did actually enjoy the book, though. I read a few poems a day, which took a long time since the editor spends many pages carefully examining the background of each poet and poem, along with very detailed insights into things like the poetic styles, meter, alliteration and so on. I see that many reviewers minded this but I actually enjoyed it (though I did sometimes skim his words) because he offered insights into the actual building of each poem that I really would have missed in many cases. I majored in creative writing and had over 100 poems published in my youth, so I am experienced with poetry. That said, the editor is clearly a poetry scholar and he is incredibly knowledgeable about poetic forms and elements. There were many instances where he pointed out carefully crafted elements of a poem that I would have missed. Did I need to know them? Probably not, but it was an interesting peek into the poems themselves, a lot like looking at the code that builds a web page or computer game. I also really appreciated the back stories, knowing heartbreaking details about the poets' lives and what they were going through when some of the poems were written. The poems themselves are in chronological order and use a nice balance of poems from around the world instead of focusing only on English speaking poets and Western poetry. Many are translated, but they are translated well. Themes include death, war and loneliness. I expected more of some subjects like sexual abuse and assault, racism, mental illness, LGBTQ issues, and so on. There is a good mix of male and female poets, but the themes themselves seem a little more male-centered to me (that could be bias because I am female, though). I expected more along the lines of Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath about some of the heartbreaking aspects of being a woman (especially in earlier times) and also more from poets of color about issues like slavery and racism. I am also currently reading a compilation of 250 years of African American poetry and that one is so full of really heartbreaking stuff that it almost made this one seem like "heartbreak lite" in comparison. Many of these poems seem universal -- almost anyone could relate to them -- as opposed to focusing on very personal subjects or topics that don't apply to all. This could be seen as good or bad, depending on what you're looking for. As the book is arranged by the poems' dates of publications, I also found myself reading the dates and anticipating which historical elements would come up. I was very curious what themes would be covered in the poems of the past 20 years, and was a little disappointed at the lack of timely topics. Again, this speaks to the universality of the poems, and some people may prefer that. This would be an especially useful book for homeschooling high school poetry or for those who want to understand the bones of poetry, since so much focus is on how the poems are constructed and what literary devices are used. As mentioned, some people dislike this, but it's great knowledge for those who are looking for it. The poems themselves are generally good poems that are accessible for everybody and not the obscure, hard to understand types, though some are more academic than others. Again, I think the author/editor's own background heavily dictated the poems he chose. I may give this book to my 20 year old daughter for Christmas this year, since she loves both poetry and heartbreak, but I'm pretty sure she'll skip the explanation pages. I read a digital ARC of this book for review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Reading_ Tam_ Ishly

    I find this collection quite dense and serious. Well, I didn't expect it from the blurb. But nevertheless, I feel this book would be quite helpful to poetry lovers and would get detailed views on various poets mentioned. The contents discuss in details the works of William Wordsworth, John Keats, John Clare, Tennyson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Constantine Cavafy, Thomas Hardy, Edward Thomas, Guillaume Apollinaire, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Langton Hughes, Charlotte Mew, César Vallejo and many more po I find this collection quite dense and serious. Well, I didn't expect it from the blurb. But nevertheless, I feel this book would be quite helpful to poetry lovers and would get detailed views on various poets mentioned. The contents discuss in details the works of William Wordsworth, John Keats, John Clare, Tennyson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Constantine Cavafy, Thomas Hardy, Edward Thomas, Guillaume Apollinaire, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Langton Hughes, Charlotte Mew, César Vallejo and many more poets. Take your time. I did. And it's really insightful how the author discussed some poetry worth reading. Thanks NetGalley for the ARC.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers. 100 poems to break your heart was a book I had to drag myself through and which I ended up skipping some pages and focusing more on just the poems rather than the information that accompanied them. I found this book to be too heavy and dense for me to get into and got bored reading it, but thats not to say that others won't enjoy it. I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers. 100 poems to break your heart was a book I had to drag myself through and which I ended up skipping some pages and focusing more on just the poems rather than the information that accompanied them. I found this book to be too heavy and dense for me to get into and got bored reading it, but thats not to say that others won't enjoy it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    zhane

    2/5 stars! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This book has an interesting premise that excites me a lot back then. I can see the appeal of this for those who are yet to start reading poetry and want to practice how to analyze or extract meaning from poems/prose. However, for someone who likes to have my own interpretation of a piece, I really didn't like this book. I felt like I'm being forced to ha 2/5 stars! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This book has an interesting premise that excites me a lot back then. I can see the appeal of this for those who are yet to start reading poetry and want to practice how to analyze or extract meaning from poems/prose. However, for someone who likes to have my own interpretation of a piece, I really didn't like this book. I felt like I'm being forced to have this take on these entries when I have another interpretation of it and that annoys me a lot. I don't think all poetry readers will like this book since it caters to a niche audience.

  6. 4 out of 5

    trishla ⚡ | YourLocalBookReader

    3 stars Title is very apt. I did cry many many times reading this. What I loved most (and this was 500 pages so there's a lot to love) is the explanations that accompanied every poem. It gave me very much Dead Poets Society vibes. My only wish is that there was more diversity in the poems. A lot of them featured death or lost love - which makes sense - but there is so much more sadness in the world. I did find them getting a bit repetitive by the end. Find me on: instagram The ARC of this book was 3 stars Title is very apt. I did cry many many times reading this. What I loved most (and this was 500 pages so there's a lot to love) is the explanations that accompanied every poem. It gave me very much Dead Poets Society vibes. My only wish is that there was more diversity in the poems. A lot of them featured death or lost love - which makes sense - but there is so much more sadness in the world. I did find them getting a bit repetitive by the end. Find me on: instagram The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me an eARC. All opinions are my own unbiased views. --- 100 Poems to Break Your Heart is a collection of different poems by a large variety of different poets. I want to begin this review by explaining that this collection isn't what I thought it would be. When I first requested this on Netgalley, I thought it was a collection of Hirsch's own works. Instead, Hirsch explains his perspective on each of the 100 poems, detailing his own interpretations Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me an eARC. All opinions are my own unbiased views. --- 100 Poems to Break Your Heart is a collection of different poems by a large variety of different poets. I want to begin this review by explaining that this collection isn't what I thought it would be. When I first requested this on Netgalley, I thought it was a collection of Hirsch's own works. Instead, Hirsch explains his perspective on each of the 100 poems, detailing his own interpretations. Personally, I like to make up my own interpretation rather than having someone else tell me what to think. If you like modern poetry and critical reading, then this book is for you.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Avani ✨

    I don't understand why was there a need for this book. It actually forces me to analyse these 100 finest collection of poems according to the author's perspective. I really like reading poetry and I am an avid poetry reader as well. I read and like portey only for the fact that it helps the reader individually analyse and make meaning out of it. It does not generalize it, that's the beauty of poetry. Also, sometimes it's ok to not remove meaning out of each and every poetry you read. It's totally I don't understand why was there a need for this book. It actually forces me to analyse these 100 finest collection of poems according to the author's perspective. I really like reading poetry and I am an avid poetry reader as well. I read and like portey only for the fact that it helps the reader individually analyse and make meaning out of it. It does not generalize it, that's the beauty of poetry. Also, sometimes it's ok to not remove meaning out of each and every poetry you read. It's totally okay to just read and feel without actually knowing it's meaning. This book was definitely not what the blurb says and I expected it to be different.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Beatriz

    I received an advanced reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley. This is a very interesting book for all poetry lovers. As it says in the title, there are 100 poems included in this book and all of them are accompanied with a thorough analysis. I enjoyed reading it, but I would honestly appreciate something a bit lighter. Rating: 4/5 stars.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Oviya Balan

    I was hoping the explanations to be precise and brief. It was an okay-ish read. On a positive note, the book definitely covered some great poetry. Appreciate the attempt.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Merve

    I received an advanced copy of the book 100 Poems to Break Your Heart by Edward Hirsch via NetGalley, and here is my honest review in return! This book centers around the idea that although reading about others’ pain and loss is often very heartbreaking, it also makes you feel “less alone and more connected.” Edward Hirsch has put together a collection of poems, mostly translated poems from the 19-21st centuries, that are associated with sadness, sorrow, loss, etc. I had never read translated poet I received an advanced copy of the book 100 Poems to Break Your Heart by Edward Hirsch via NetGalley, and here is my honest review in return! This book centers around the idea that although reading about others’ pain and loss is often very heartbreaking, it also makes you feel “less alone and more connected.” Edward Hirsch has put together a collection of poems, mostly translated poems from the 19-21st centuries, that are associated with sadness, sorrow, loss, etc. I had never read translated poetry before, perhaps because I thought poetry could not be translated properly. Hirsch acknowledges that poems lose something of their nature during translation, but he suggests that these poems “add to the sum of our human experience,” and thus reading them, even if in translation, is worth it. I agree. One thing that I really liked about this book was its format, but I am aware that although this was a positive for me, it could be a negative for a lot of people. Each poem is accompanied by a description of its historical context, the poet’s background, and a mini analysis. Hirsch leads you through almost each line of the poem, helping you understand the bigger picture by giving you information about certain events that took place in the world, or in the poet’s life, when the poem was written. I am not an advanced poetry reader, and I’m usually too lazy to look up information about the poems I read unless I really, really like them. So the format of this book was super helpful to me! I had such easy access to resources; everything I needed was in one page! It also helped me develop my poetry analysis skills, because in addition to providing context, Hirsch also analyzes the poems for you, and you get a good sense of how to break down the poems etc. Now again, I enjoyed this because I’m not an advanced poetry reader, and I don’t know a lot about poem analysis besides the basic stuff. Obviously if you are a pro in poetry interpretation/analysis, the explanations in this book may seem too simple or limiting to you. I read some reviews which criticized the book for “forcing” them to interpret poems in one single way. I understand that some people may enjoy searching for various possible meanings in poems, and coming up with different interpretations; if you are one of these people, this book might not be for you. I personally like to have answers; I like interpreting poems, but I also want to know what the most likely interpretation is (e.g. what the poet was ACTUALLY thinking about). Since Hirsch makes his interpretations based mostly on historical facts, I like to have a safe interpretation that I know is “most probably” the truth. These are my personal preferences, I totally understand people who think otherwise. But just keep in mind that the aim of this book is to investigate the heartbreaking nature of certain poems, not to serve as the perfect illustration of how poetry should be handled… So for newbie poetry readers, this book will be a great tool! But more advanced poetry readers or people who like to have their imagination go wild while reading poetry will not have such a positive experience with this. One thing I should add is that I thought this book was too long. Of course, the more the merrier, and I appreciate the author’s efforts in finding and putting together so many great poems. But I believe that poetry is something to cherish from time to time, it’s not enjoyable to sit down and read poetry like reading a novel. The background info/description bits of the book dilute the poetry a little bit, so it is more bearable, but I still found it difficult to finish the book after a certain point, and found myself skipping some poems that didn’t seem necessarily interesting to me. I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley, which really affected my reading experience negatively. I always prefer physical books, but with this book I just NEEDED a physical copy. I would have loved to highlight and take notes on the margins, hold the book in my hand etc. It would have made such an emotional book much better. So I actually think I might get a physical copy once the book gets published. If the publishers are reading this: please send me a free copy :) Thanks! Overall, if you’re new to poetry, read this! If not, well… You can take your chances.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michelle McGrane

    “In a murderous time the heart breaks and breaks and lives by breaking.” — Stanley Kunitz, ‘The Testing-Tree’ “Implicit in poetry is the notion that we are deepened by heartbreaks, by the recognition and understanding of suffering — not just our own suffering but also the suffering of others. We are not so much diminished as enlarged by grief, by our refusal to vanish, or to let others vanish, without leaving a verbal record. The poet is one who will not be reconciled, who is determined to leave a “In a murderous time the heart breaks and breaks and lives by breaking.” — Stanley Kunitz, ‘The Testing-Tree’ “Implicit in poetry is the notion that we are deepened by heartbreaks, by the recognition and understanding of suffering — not just our own suffering but also the suffering of others. We are not so much diminished as enlarged by grief, by our refusal to vanish, or to let others vanish, without leaving a verbal record. The poet is one who will not be reconciled, who is determined to leave a trace in words, to transform oceanic depths of feeling into the faithful nuances of art.” This wide-ranging selection combines popular choices of traditional poems with powerful poems by contemporary writers more tuned to our present age of doubt and disbelief. Hirsch has chosen poems from the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. He creates a dramatic, sometimes biographical, often historical context for the poems, explaining their references, teasing out their meanings, unpacking them. The anthology includes sonnets and sestinas, aubades and elegies, an ecologue, a villanelle, a blues poem, a night song or nocturne, a pantoum, prose poems, lyrics that rhyme and lyrics that don’t, intentional and unintentional fragments, poems pitched at the level of speech, others that sing. There are prayers and anti-prayers. There is always something untranslatable about a poem, but Hirsch has included a wide range of poems that have been translated into English from many different languages, poems from Greek, French, Spanish, Russian, Hungarian, Polish, Yiddish, Hebrew, Turkish, German, Portuguese, and Arabic. Poems are written in solitude, but they reach out to others, which makes poetry a social act. It rises out of one solitude to meet another. Poems of terrible sadness and loss trouble and challenge us, but they also make us feel less alone and more connected. Our own desolations become more recognizable to us, more articulate, something shared. We become less isolated in our sorrow, and thus are befriended by the words of another. There is something ennobling in grief that is compacted, expressed, and transfigured into poetry. Grief isn’t denied but experienced and made more bearable by being put into memorable words. Searing poems of lament are followed by moving elegies celebrating the lives of those we will always love. Whether and how the spirit survives is then explored in an extraordinary gathering of poems. No one escapes unscathed — we all have our hearts broken. and yet, as Czelaw Milosz puts it in his ‘Elegy for N.N’, “the heart does not die when one thinks it should”. Despite everything, we go on. These poems don’t offer easy answers to grief, they keep the kind of company that only poetry can, because only poetry can convincingly say, as Ruth Stone does in her poem ‘Train Ride’, “All things come to an end. / No, they go on forever”. Among some of my favourite poets included in the anthology are Naomi Shihab Nye; Louise Gluck; Sharon Olds; Joy Harjo; Adrienne Rich; Les Murray; Marie Howe; Stanley Kunitz; Brigit Pegeen Kelly; Lucille Clifton; Eavan Boland; Galway Kinnell; Mary Oliver; Natasha Trethewey; Tony Hoagland; Michael Waters; Lucie Brock-Broido; Yusuf Komunyakaa, and Victoria Chang. A huge thank you to @NetGalley and @Houghton_Mifflin for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    J

    The premise of this poetry collection intrigued me. Heartbreak (in all its forms) is a prevalent theme in poetry across time and space, so I wanted to see what Hirsch plans to do with a hundred poems on this theme. I admit, I wasn't expecting to see his analysis for these poems; some of which I found intriguing, while others weren't as engaging. I did appreciate some of the historical context that led to these poems. Some poems I already knew from my own studies and readings, but made for a nice The premise of this poetry collection intrigued me. Heartbreak (in all its forms) is a prevalent theme in poetry across time and space, so I wanted to see what Hirsch plans to do with a hundred poems on this theme. I admit, I wasn't expecting to see his analysis for these poems; some of which I found intriguing, while others weren't as engaging. I did appreciate some of the historical context that led to these poems. Some poems I already knew from my own studies and readings, but made for a nice revisit (and also compare/contrast Hirsch's own interpretation to mine). Others were new to me, and some of them piqued my interest to learn more about that poet's oeuvre. And I think for anyone who picks up 100 Poems to Break Your Heart, you'll find that the poems themselves are a good jumping point into other works. Your mileage will certainly vary depending on how you feel about others' analyses. My greatest criticism about this collection is the lack of diversity, which could have been remedied with more research (which Hirsch clearly is not incapable of). The overwhelming majority of these poets were white Europeans (primarily English) and Americans. In addition, the vast majority of them were men. It's not until the 10th poem that we hear from a female poet (Edna St. Vincent Millay), the 11th poet to hear from a nonwhite poet (Langston Hughes), and the first non-European/-American poet didn't come in until 13th poet (Cesar Vallejo). Very very few of them were queer. Going backwards, the diversity was more apparent (e.g., 5/10 last poets were BIPOC, three being women of color), but the last ten poets were all American. The very poems by those who do not fall into at least one of these categories clearly demonstrate their capacity to write equally (if not, more) heartbreaking poems. It would have been nice if Hirsch could have drawn more attention to such poems. Note: I received this ARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Grant

    My favorite from this collection: Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg By Richard Hugo You might come here Sunday on a whim. Say your life broke down. The last good kiss you had was years ago. You walk these streets laid out by the insane, past hotels that didn’t last, bars that did, the tortured try of local drivers to accelerate their lives. Only churches are kept up. The jail turned 70 this year. The only prisoner is always in, not knowing what he’s done. The principal supporting business now is rage. My favorite from this collection: Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg By Richard Hugo You might come here Sunday on a whim. Say your life broke down. The last good kiss you had was years ago. You walk these streets laid out by the insane, past hotels that didn’t last, bars that did, the tortured try of local drivers to accelerate their lives. Only churches are kept up. The jail turned 70 this year. The only prisoner is always in, not knowing what he’s done. The principal supporting business now is rage. Hatred of the various grays the mountain sends, hatred of the mill, The Silver Bill repeal, the best liked girls who leave each year for Butte. One good restaurant and bars can’t wipe the boredom out. The 1907 boom, eight going silver mines, a dance floor built on springs— all memory resolves itself in gaze, in panoramic green you know the cattle eat or two stacks high above the town, two dead kilns, the huge mill in collapse for fifty years that won’t fall finally down. Isn’t this your life? That ancient kiss still burning out your eyes? Isn’t this defeat so accurate, the church bell simply seems a pure announcement: ring and no one comes? Don’t empty houses ring? Are magnesium and scorn sufficient to support a town, not just Philipsburg, but towns of towering blondes, good jazz and booze the world will never let you have until the town you came from dies inside? Say no to yourself. The old man, twenty when the jail was built, still laughs although his lips collapse. Someday soon, he says, I’ll go to sleep and not wake up. You tell him no. You’re talking to yourself. The car that brought you here still runs. The money you buy lunch with, no matter where it’s mined, is silver and the girl who serves your food is slender and her red hair lights the wall.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Trinity Casey

    2/5 Stars Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for sending this book my way. This in no way influences my thoughts or opinions. Reading the title of this book, I was really excited because I do love collections of poetry. Personally, I feel reading poetry is incredibly subjective so there is no guarantee that you'll love any of the poems found within this collection. However, I will say that this collection was amazing with its breadth of different times and voices represented. I was not 2/5 Stars Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for sending this book my way. This in no way influences my thoughts or opinions. Reading the title of this book, I was really excited because I do love collections of poetry. Personally, I feel reading poetry is incredibly subjective so there is no guarantee that you'll love any of the poems found within this collection. However, I will say that this collection was amazing with its breadth of different times and voices represented. I was not expecting an in-depth analysis of each work. I had been missing my discussions that we had in my various college literature courses and that was very reminiscent of the breakdown that we would have. If that's what you're into then absolutely go for it and pick this up. But it also makes for some really dense reading and it's sort of a niche topic that not every reader is going to want to pick up. I got what I wanted out of it, I found some new poems that I really connect with. Other than that, I don't have any strong feelings either way for this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Darya

    Thank you Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing and Netgalley for sending me a copy of 100 Poems to Break Your Heart by Edward Hirsch. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Well let's dive right in. Going into the book I was expecting a collection of poetry and as a seasoned veteran of books and poems breaking my heart I was interested in what was in store. In my opinion, the sypnosis is a bit misleading as the book more revolves around the factual depiction of the poems in question rather than th Thank you Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing and Netgalley for sending me a copy of 100 Poems to Break Your Heart by Edward Hirsch. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Well let's dive right in. Going into the book I was expecting a collection of poetry and as a seasoned veteran of books and poems breaking my heart I was interested in what was in store. In my opinion, the sypnosis is a bit misleading as the book more revolves around the factual depiction of the poems in question rather than the emotions surrounding them. I think definitely if you are very interested in analysis and knowing the backstories then this is a great book for you! I enjoyed some parts and the insight into the pieces but found myself wanting to draw my own interpretations more. I truly believe with a different sypnosis / summary, this book could reach a much more desired audience and go further in an educational and analyzing sense. A wide range of content was talked about which was appreciated as it covered a big time span and really gets you to see the evolution of poetry (which is something that interests me). Overall, a solid analytical book and a very pretty abstracted cover as well.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Booklovingscotsman RS Green

    I have been reading poetry for nearly 30 years since being a teenager. I’m a huge fan of poetry and its power to soothe you when heartbroken, however, this isn’t the book to do this. The poetry choices aren’t great - how a collection about heartbreak doesn’t include ‘The joys that sting’ by CS Lewis is dumbfounding. Personally, it’s the most beautiful poem ever written about grief. I’m also not sure who this book is aimed at as the only people who would want to dissect a poems meter, techniques an I have been reading poetry for nearly 30 years since being a teenager. I’m a huge fan of poetry and its power to soothe you when heartbroken, however, this isn’t the book to do this. The poetry choices aren’t great - how a collection about heartbreak doesn’t include ‘The joys that sting’ by CS Lewis is dumbfounding. Personally, it’s the most beautiful poem ever written about grief. I’m also not sure who this book is aimed at as the only people who would want to dissect a poems meter, techniques and historical context would surely only be students. I don’t want to read an a English essay to help me in my grief. More poems and brief paragraphs or even personal anecdotes may have made this more ‘human’. I’m also fairly certain, most, if not all, the poets are white when there’s such a beautiful catalogue of phenomenal BAME poets. How can Maya Angelou not have a poem here with some of her beautiful writing on heartbreak or the superb Lemn Sissay from England/Ethiopia. If I’m clutching at straws there’s a lot here if you’re studying poetry and a history that chooses a poem from each year. I just wouldn’t recommend this if you are grief stricken or broken hearted.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cherish

    TW: abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, molestation, racism/hate crimes   This is a book for both poetry people and non-poetry people. If you ever wanted a poem explained to you because you didn’t understand the meaning/what it was talking about this book is great. Each poem comes with a brief history of the poet and the time period it was written which provides AMAZING context I would have never understood without it.   Hirsch also did an excellent job of including many women and POC poets. S TW: abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, molestation, racism/hate crimes   This is a book for both poetry people and non-poetry people. If you ever wanted a poem explained to you because you didn’t understand the meaning/what it was talking about this book is great. Each poem comes with a brief history of the poet and the time period it was written which provides AMAZING context I would have never understood without it.   Hirsch also did an excellent job of including many women and POC poets. Some of the poems truly broke my heart while reading them. They included many poems about loss-   Loss of a child Loss of a loved one Loss of innocence   While the poems are amazing and heart wrenching— the book doesn’t give a trigger warning. Some of these poems are very graphic in the themes they explore. Therefore, if you are sensitive to any of the above mentioned TW maybe avoid reading this book.   However, if you want to read more poetry but are too nervous to dive in without a helping hand—this book is for you!   I was provided an arc from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    joyce w. laudon

    Some of the many poets whose works are included in this collection are Wordsworth, Keats, Tennyson, Hardy, St. Vincent Millay, Langston Hughes, Anne Sexton, Randall Jarrell, Muriel Rukeyser, Robert Lowell, Sharon Olds and Phillip Larkin, among many others. This is certainly a good collection with, as the title suggests, a focus on heartbreak. What a topic for Covid times, although there are many kinds of losses and many centuries during which poets grappled with this emotion. Grief does not only Some of the many poets whose works are included in this collection are Wordsworth, Keats, Tennyson, Hardy, St. Vincent Millay, Langston Hughes, Anne Sexton, Randall Jarrell, Muriel Rukeyser, Robert Lowell, Sharon Olds and Phillip Larkin, among many others. This is certainly a good collection with, as the title suggests, a focus on heartbreak. What a topic for Covid times, although there are many kinds of losses and many centuries during which poets grappled with this emotion. Grief does not only belong to today. This collection will most appeal to serious readers of poetry. There are many kinds of poems including sonnets, aubades, a villanelle, a nocturne and more. The erudite editor has selected poems that have special meaning to him and he explicates them all. Some readers may not want all of this additional content but it is worth looking at, at least some of the time. Other times, readers can dip in and read whatever poem they like on its own merits. Readers who take their time with this title will learn a lot and feel a good deal as well.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Clement

    This collection of moving poems studies traces left by heartbreak from the last 200 years of poets: sad for one reason or another, over the same things that bring us sorrow today. Can poetry make us feel less alone in the midst of a broken heart? Through each of the 100 selected poems’ analysis and backstory, we learn what inspired the original work and how much our pain has in common. I like that small, intriguing excerpts of each poem are featured, but I wish I could read the entire poem first This collection of moving poems studies traces left by heartbreak from the last 200 years of poets: sad for one reason or another, over the same things that bring us sorrow today. Can poetry make us feel less alone in the midst of a broken heart? Through each of the 100 selected poems’ analysis and backstory, we learn what inspired the original work and how much our pain has in common. I like that small, intriguing excerpts of each poem are featured, but I wish I could read the entire poem first before the intense breakdown of it. And, while way more literary than I expected from the title and cover, and less emotional and more analytical than I thought it would be: this book would be perfect for a deep dive into each classic work captured in beautiful prose, and it’s analytical enough that you won’t be left devastated by each one.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lyzz

    I am really disappointed in this book of poetry. The layout was poor and made it difficult to find the poems. They were buried in a wall of text instead of being the highlight and easy to find. Maybe this will be corrected in the final proof? I'm a newbie to reading poetry. While I appreciated the level of detail in the dissection and analysis, it felt like a college textbook. I feel most readers are like me in that they are either new to poetry or casual readers. This level of detail was unnece I am really disappointed in this book of poetry. The layout was poor and made it difficult to find the poems. They were buried in a wall of text instead of being the highlight and easy to find. Maybe this will be corrected in the final proof? I'm a newbie to reading poetry. While I appreciated the level of detail in the dissection and analysis, it felt like a college textbook. I feel most readers are like me in that they are either new to poetry or casual readers. This level of detail was unnecessary. I'd suggest this to readers who are advanced poetry readers that want to really understand the context and analysis of the poems. As a new casual reader, this just wasn't for me.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Fatima Anwar

    Name: 100 Poems to Break Your Heart Author: Edward Hirsch Genre: Poetry, Love, Loss, Death, Longing Rating: 4/5 Review: This book is an anthology of heart touching poems of pain and loss by some of the most popular poets like Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Thomas Hardy, John Berrymen, Anne Sexton and many more. The author has done a critical analysis of each poetry and gives us an insight of the poet's mindset while writing the poem. This is a wonderful collection of poetry, which I lov Name: 100 Poems to Break Your Heart Author: Edward Hirsch Genre: Poetry, Love, Loss, Death, Longing Rating: 4/5 Review: This book is an anthology of heart touching poems of pain and loss by some of the most popular poets like Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Thomas Hardy, John Berrymen, Anne Sexton and many more. The author has done a critical analysis of each poetry and gives us an insight of the poet's mindset while writing the poem. This is a wonderful collection of poetry, which I loved to read. Each poetry is an amazing peice of work which leave us lost in thoughts.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Krystle

    I really wanted to like this book since I absolutely love poetry but this book just did not do it for me. I hated Hirsch’s analysis at times and did not like that the book was incredibly dense with information that at times felt unnecessary. If the poetry were on their own, then this book would have been much better. I hated the unpacking of each poem and felt that it left me feeling simply exasperated at times. If I could give this book zero stars I would. *Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt a I really wanted to like this book since I absolutely love poetry but this book just did not do it for me. I hated Hirsch’s analysis at times and did not like that the book was incredibly dense with information that at times felt unnecessary. If the poetry were on their own, then this book would have been much better. I hated the unpacking of each poem and felt that it left me feeling simply exasperated at times. If I could give this book zero stars I would. *Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for this Ebook in exchange for my honest review

  24. 4 out of 5

    Pretty Bibliophile

    I thought this collection was just superb. The poems were a wonderful mix of those I have read before and some that were new to me. Nonetheless, each and every piece of work that I read, had the immense power to transport me and I was boundless in the sphere of time in this poetry. You don't even need to think twice. Pick it up! Hirsch's addition and his splendid illustration via words was just the cherry on top. It made everything all the better. This particular aspect is especially great for be I thought this collection was just superb. The poems were a wonderful mix of those I have read before and some that were new to me. Nonetheless, each and every piece of work that I read, had the immense power to transport me and I was boundless in the sphere of time in this poetry. You don't even need to think twice. Pick it up! Hirsch's addition and his splendid illustration via words was just the cherry on top. It made everything all the better. This particular aspect is especially great for beginners!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Maahi Patel

    This anthology is a charming collection of poems centred around loss, death, grief, sadness and fear. Each poem is accompanied by a detailed analysis and the context in which it was written. Edward Hirsch does a wonderful job in explaining the poems, but the analysis often overpowers the poem. It is often too unnecessarily detailed. The book goes from being a light read to an educational one, which is fine if that’s what you want although I would have preferred shorter insights. The selection of This anthology is a charming collection of poems centred around loss, death, grief, sadness and fear. Each poem is accompanied by a detailed analysis and the context in which it was written. Edward Hirsch does a wonderful job in explaining the poems, but the analysis often overpowers the poem. It is often too unnecessarily detailed. The book goes from being a light read to an educational one, which is fine if that’s what you want although I would have preferred shorter insights. The selection of poems is quite good though. Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tanya López

    I just could not get into this, so I had to put it down. I evidently missed the part about the author breaking down the poems for us in laymen’s terms and although I was open to it when I realized that’s what this collection was, I didn’t enjoy the execution. It was a little too wordy for me and I was just hoping for a compilation of new and old poems for me to enjoy all in one collection. I would be open to maybe reading this another time! Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced re I just could not get into this, so I had to put it down. I evidently missed the part about the author breaking down the poems for us in laymen’s terms and although I was open to it when I realized that’s what this collection was, I didn’t enjoy the execution. It was a little too wordy for me and I was just hoping for a compilation of new and old poems for me to enjoy all in one collection. I would be open to maybe reading this another time! Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Benicia Noia (Booktuber)

    A very interesting book, however it was not what I expected. I thought it would be just a collection of poems, but it ended up being a book that teaches literary structure classes on how each poem was written ... The reading was heavy and I couldn't finish it, since it wasn't what I was expecting from the beginning. At times I thought I needed to have knowledge of grammar and poetry writing and its structures. A very interesting book, however it was not what I expected. I thought it would be just a collection of poems, but it ended up being a book that teaches literary structure classes on how each poem was written ... The reading was heavy and I couldn't finish it, since it wasn't what I was expecting from the beginning. At times I thought I needed to have knowledge of grammar and poetry writing and its structures.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    This was not what I expected it to be. I expected 100 poems with short bios of each author, but what this book is instead is a detailed analysis of the poems and the poets. While there were some aspects of the author's analysis I enjoyed, most of the time I found it to be superfluous. For certain poems, his analysis was so detailed that he would examine the poem almost line by line, and I found myself skipping some parts so that I could get to the next poem. Sometimes I felt as if the author was This was not what I expected it to be. I expected 100 poems with short bios of each author, but what this book is instead is a detailed analysis of the poems and the poets. While there were some aspects of the author's analysis I enjoyed, most of the time I found it to be superfluous. For certain poems, his analysis was so detailed that he would examine the poem almost line by line, and I found myself skipping some parts so that I could get to the next poem. Sometimes I felt as if the author was meticulously dissecting the poetry with a scalpel and then using the technical terms to describe it's anatomy instead of showcasing the feelings and emotions of the poems. Thank you to Netgalley + Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for sending me an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Susie

    Quite an interesting read, it’s a long time since I read any poetry so wanted to see what I thought. I liked the way that each poem gave some insight into the person who wrote it. But I was expecting just poems that I could jump in and out of. Thank you NetGalley for my complimentary copy in return for my honest review.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sid Blackwood

    I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This is a really great book to start getting into poetry. The poems are chosen really well and the commentary by the author is great. Enough context is given to really understand the content of the poems while not being so overwhelming that it takes away the meaning of them. A great collection of love poems.

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