Robert Hass (March 01, 1941 - ..)
Born: 1st March, 1941
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Poet
Region: San Francisco, California, poet laureate
Notable works: "The Apple Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems", "Field Guide", "Sun Under Wood", "Time and Materials: Poems, 1997-2005"

Robert Hass Facts

Biography

Robert Hass, (born March 1, 1941, San Francisco, California, U.S.), American poet and translator whose body of work and tenure as poet laureate of the United States (1995-97) revealed his deep conviction that poetry, as one critic put it, "is what defines the self."

Hass attended St. Mary's College (B.A., 1963) in Moraga, California, and Stanford University (M.A., 1965; Ph.D., 1976). In the late 1960s he began teaching, working from 1971 to 1974 and 1975 to 1989 at St. Mary's. In 1989 he joined the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley. Named poet laureate consultant in poetry in 1995, he used his two terms in the position to promote poetry and literacy, thus helping to redefine a position that until then had largely been ceremonial. Poet's Choice: Poems for Everyday Life (1998) contains the weekly columns he wrote for the Washington Post during this period.

Hass's first poetry collection, Field Guide, was published in 1973 after winning the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. It is filled with images of nature and the California landscape, common themes in his work, and is noted for the clarity and conciseness of its language. In Praise (1979), his second volume, Hass eloquently examines the use of language. His volume of essays on and reviews of American, European, and Japanese poets, Twentieth Century Pleasures: Prose on Poetry (1984; 3rd ed., 1997), won a National Book Critics Circle Award in 1984. His translations, with others, of several works by Czeslaw Milosz--including The Separate Notebooks (1984; with poet Robert Pinsky, Milosz, and Renata Gorcyzski), Unattainable Earth (1986; with Milosz), The Collected Poems, 1931-1987 (1988), and Provinces (1991; also with Milosz)--and his introduction to and editing and verse translations of The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa (1994) and other volumes are evidence of the range of his interest in and engagement with poetic vision.

Among his own subsequent collections of poetry were Human Wishes (1989) and Sun Under Wood (1996), which won for Hass a second National Book Critics Circle Award. He spent much of the next decade teaching and working with human rights and environmental groups. He continued writing during this period, and his work, collected as Time and Materials: Poems, 1997-2005 (2007), received a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize. The Apple Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems was published in 2010. Four years later Hass received the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. Summer Snow: New Poems appeared in 2020. His nonfiction included What Light Can Do: Essays on Art, Imagination, and the Natural World (2012). He also wrote A Little Book on Form: An Exploration into the Formal Imagination of Poetry (2017).

Top 19 Robert Hass quotes

Take the time to write. You can do your life's work in half an hour a day.
Day
Half
Hour
Life
Take
Time
Work
Write
You
Your
There are moments when the body is as numinous as words, days that are the good flesh continuing. Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings, saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.
Afternoon
Blackberry
Body
Continuing
Days
Evenings
Flesh
Good
Moments
Saying
Tenderness
Those
Words
In California in the early Spring, There are pale yellow mornings, when the mist burns slowly into day, The air stings like Autumn, clarifies like pain - Well, I have dreamed this coast myself.
Air
Autumn
Burns
California
Coast
Day
Dreamed
Early
Like
Mist
Mornings
Myself
Pain
Pale
All the new thinking is about loss, In this it resembles all the old thinking.
About
Loss
New
Old
Resembles
Thinking
I think that the job of poetry, its political job, is to refresh the idea of justice, which is going dead in us all the time.
Dead
Going
I think
Idea
Job
Justice
Poetry
Political
Refresh
Think
Time
Us
Which
When I was in high school in the '50s you were supposed to be an Elvis Presley, a James Dean, a Marlon Brando or a Kingston Trio type in a button-down shirt headed for the fraternities at Stanford or Cal.
Brando
Cal
Dean
Elvis
Elvis presley
Headed
High
High school
James
James dean
Marlon brando
School
Shirt
Stanford
When I was in college, I lost my scholarship one year. I had enough money for tuition, but not room and board. So I camped in the hills.
Board
College
Enough
Enough money
Had
Had enough
Hills
Lost
Money
Room
Scholarship
Tuition
Year
The first book that really knocked me out was the 'Brothers Karamazov.' I read it when I was a senior in high school.
Book
Brothers
First
High
High school
Knocked
Me
Out
Read
Really
School
Senior
Writing is an incessant process of discovery.
Discovery
Incessant
Process
Writing
The Earth forgives the previous year every year.
Earth
Every
Forgives
Previous
Year
You begin to see that all of these things are connected: The kind of cuts that mean less environmental protection are also the kind of cuts that mean less musical education for the schools and that also mean more overcrowded schools.
Also
Begin
Connected
Cuts
Education
Environmental
Environmental protection
Kind
Less
Mean
More
Musical
Protection
Schools
The market doesn't make communities. Markets make networks of self-interested individuals, and they work as long as there's more than enough to go around.
Around
Communities
Enough
Go
Individuals
Long
Make
Market
Markets
More
Networks
Than
Work
As poet laureate, I was asked to be a spokesman for literature.
Asked
Laureate
Literature
Poet
Poet laureate
Spokesman
I got interested in the question of literacy because writers are always moaning about why more people don't read books.
About
Always
Because
Books
Got
Interested
Literacy
Moaning
More
More people
People
Question
Read
Why
I teach a lecture course on American poetry to as many as 150 students. For a lot of them, it's their only elective, so this is their one shot. They'll take the Russian Novel or American Poetry, so I want to give them the high points, the inescapable poets.
American
Course
Elective
Give
High
Lecture
Lot
Many
Novel
Only
Poetry
Poets
Points
Russian
When I was younger, I was so crazy about poetry that I didn't notice who was noticing. It seemed to me so tremendous and large.
About
Crazy
Large
Me
Notice
Noticing
Poetry
Seemed
Tremendous
Who
Younger
I would say Gary Snyder, who is from my part of the world as a poet and environmental thinker, will be read just as Henry Thoreau as John Muir will continue to be read.
Continue
Environmental
Gary
Henry
John
Just
Part
Poet
Read
Say
Thinker
Who
Will
World
The Vietnam War and the Iraq war, in different ways, both made me feel like I could not not address them. I'm very doubtful about the usefulness of poetry to do that.
About
Address
Both
Could
Different
Different ways
Doubtful
Feel
Iraq
Iraq war
Like
Made
Me
Poetry
Not to make too much of a claim for poetry, but this is a question that goes to the moral heart of the business of any art: 'How do you see the world, and what right do you have to see the world in the way that you do?'
Any
Art
Business
Claim
Goes
Heart
How
Make
Moral
Much
Poetry
Question
Right
See

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