Poet and literary critic Adam Kirsch was born in Los Angeles and earned his BA from Harvard. He is the author of three collections of poetry: The Thousand Wells (2002), selected for the New Criterion Poetry Prize; Invasions (2008); and Emblems of the Passing World: Poems After Photographs by August Sanders (2015). Kirsch is known as an exacting formalist; he frequently works with traditional values and techniques such as meter and rhyme. As a critic, Kirsch is similarly interested in conserving traditional poetry and poetics. His books of criticism include The Wounded Surgeon: Confession and Transformations in Six American Poets (2005), The Modern Element: Essays on Contemporary Poetry (2008), Rocket and Lightship: Essays on Literature and Ideas (2014), The People and the Books: 18 Classics of Jewish Literature (2016), and The Global Novel: Writing the World in the 21st Century (2017). He has also written biographical studies, including Benjamin Disraeli (2008) and Why Trilling Matters (2011). He is currently editing Trilling’s letters.
Kirsch’s honors and awards include a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. The poetry critic at the New Republic for many years, Kirsch now writes for a number of publications, including the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, and Tablet, where he is a contributing editor. Kirsch is the graduate program coordinator of the Institute of Israel and Jewish Studies at Columbia University.