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For Hirsch, Reading Poetry Is Fundamental

In Poet's Choice, author Edward Hirsch makes a case that poetry is "a human fundamental, like music." Hirsch talks poetry with Scott Simon and reads poems by Kathy Fagan and William Matthews.

"I'd say people do need some help with poetry because I think poetry just helps takes us to places that Americans aren't always accustomed to going," Hirsch says.

For those of us who need that help, Hirsch also cites the late William Matthews on "the four subjects of poetry," which are:

"1. I went out into the woods today, and it made me feel, you know, sort of religious.

2. We're not getting any younger.

3. It sure is cold and lonely (a) without you, honey, or (b) with you, honey.

4. Sadness seems but the other side of the coin of happiness, and vice versa, and in any case the coin is too soon spent, and on what we know not what."

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