At the 2015 Poets Forum, Chancellors Mary Doty, Linda Gregerson, and Jane Hirshfield came together to discuss the history and nature of the lyric poem.

As Hirshfield says, a lyric poem “carries in some way the mark and stamp of the particular individual and perishable life. It has the timbre of voice and the slant of vision, it has this moment’s news, this moment’s solace, this moment’s guide into desperately needed transformation.”

This conversation traces the history of the lyric poem from its earliest moments through the present day. Hirshfield focuses on the deep history of the lyric, considering its possible origins in lullabies, laments, and other early songs. Gregerson tells the story of the sonnet, and Doty discusses the contemporary lyric and lyric poetry as “a means of writing the self into existence.”