From A Poet’s Glossary: Elliptical Poetry
In April 2014 A Poet’s Glossary by Academy Chancellor Edward Hirsch was published. As Hirsch writes in the preface, “this book—one person’s work, a poet’s glossary—has grown, as if naturally, out of my lifelong interest in poetry, my curiosity about its vocabulary, its forms and genres, its histories and traditions, its classical, romantic, and modern movements, its various outlying groups, its small devices and large mysteries—how it works.” Each week we will feature a term and its definition from Hirsch’s new book.
Stephen Burt redeployed the term elliptical poetry to characterize a kind of oblique, gnomic poetry. He calls elliptical poets “post-avant-gardist, or post‘postmodern.’ ” Emily Dickinson and Marina Tsvetaeva could be considered two great precursors to the elliptical mode, since they charged their sometimes secretive and oblique poems with maximum intensity and meaning.
Excerpted from A Poet’s Glossary by Edward Hirsch. Copyright © 2014 by Edward Hirsch. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.