Poem Sampler

Robert Hass: The Poet's Poet

Dan Chiasson, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Brenda Hillman, Rodney Jones, and Pimone Triplett recommend their favorite Hass poems. 

by The Editors

Reading pitches from poets about possible articles. Talking to poets about who they read. Noticing which poets are frequently referenced in articles we publish. One name keeps surfacing—Robert Hass. Why does his work appeal to poets and readers from across generations and aesthetic schools? PoetryFoundation.org editors asked five poets to share their favorite Hass poem with our readers and explain why. We’ve added the poems to our online archive.


Dan Chiasson
I like any poem whose authority rests on surprising grounds, but Robert Hass’s
“Dragonflies Mating” belongs to the rare class of poems whose authority actually shifts, turns upon itself, in mid-course.
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Thomas Sayers Ellis
I discovered
“Measure” while I was learning to write poems, and I immediately liked the lonely meaning and the lonely breathing of the title.
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Brenda Hillman
I’ve been thinking for a few weeks about
“A Supple Wreath of Myrtle,” which will appear in his new book of poems next year. The piece is short, only 12 lines long; a poem of this length, if it is good, has to be a model of economy.
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Rodney Jones
Like many Robert Hass poems,
“Faint Music” is a meditative pool fed by numerous tributaries—story, song, anecdote, allusion, deduction, induction, both the Buddhist koan and the Christian parable.
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Pimone Triplett
Whatever you choose to call that thing which mere palaver erodes—soul, psyche, self, tranquility, or simply meaning—
“Meditation at Lagunitas” is one of the poems that can save you.
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Originally Published: October 12, 2006


On January 28, 2007 at 8:45pm Charles Lobaito wrote:
Robert Hass is a good, genuine poet. Sun Under Wood does reflective a meditative psyche upon itself. What readers crave is a new volume of poetry from this fantastic poet!

On April 21, 2009 at 7:51am rudi erebara wrote:
I translated some of Hass poems in Albanian a few years ago. I am a poet also and I find Hass a poet of an intimate mister wisdom, the kind of man poem who walks throughout our knowledge of being and seen as we are things in the world of poetry.


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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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