The Formal Poetry of Anthony Hecht

Edward Hirsch at The Hudson Review:

Anthony Hecht had a daunting formality. He took a measured, classical approach to poetry that, at face value, could seem emotionally cool and intellectually distanced. It was easy to misunderstand his mannered approach to the lyric in the increasingly raucous world of American poetry of the 1960s and after. I liked him immediately when I met him in the early ’80s, but his demeanor put me in mind of T. S. Eliot, who, by all accounts, spoke with a dry, faintly concocted accent and always dressed as if he were going to High Church. As a Jewish American poet, there was a certain anxiety that shadowed Hecht’s style, a fear of exclusion, which he covered up with cunning wit and cultivated shine. He was an exceptional formal poet, like Richard Wilbur and James Merrill, with whom he is often grouped, but he was also a formalist with a difference.

more here.