April 27, 2015

Edward Hirsch
The Academy of American Poets
75 Maiden Lane, Ste. 901
New York, NY 10038

Dear Mr. Hirsch,

I LOVED your poem “Cotton Candy.” Not just because I’m from New Jersey and boardwalk cotton candy is the best, but because these last few weeks in my English class we read 9 different poems, and your poem by far was my favorite. During our class discussion, we usually talk about the story behind the poem and what the poet is really referring to. While we read and discussed “Cotton Candy” I could easily relate to your story and it made me think of how valuable time is…Every second counts!

From my understanding, the cotton candy is a symbol of the relationship between the man and his grandfather, and the last time they spent together. Also in the first line you mention the bridge that goes over the Chicago River. The word “Bridge” caught my attention and I connected it to the idea of “The Bridge” being the gap between memory and loss. Another thought is that the cotton candy represented sudden change in life. One second we have everything and the next it’s gone. Just like how one second the sugary sweet air is there and then it disappears.

Your poem really made me reflect on how time and memories are so valuable. My grandmother and I have an extremely close relationship and I couldn’t imagine life without her. Just like the symbol of cotton candy between the man and his grandfather, my grandmother and I relate to the infinity sign. She always tells me I’m her infinity. This is why the symbol means so much to me. I thought the cotton candy could be a meaningful symbol as well.

Altogether, I have a few questions about the symbols or meanings of Cotton Candy and the bridge. Does the bridge have to do with the transition in life and how it can change so quickly? Did you name the poem “Cotton Candy” because it is a symbol of the time spent with your grandfather? And what’s your favorite color cotton candy, Blue?


Grade 10
Carrollton, TX

dear poet letters