The Wonder Paradox: Embracing the Weirdness of Existence and the Poetry of Our Lives


Product Details

$30.00  $27.90
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.1 X 1.4 inches | 1.2 pounds

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About the Author

Jennifer Michael Hecht, a historian and poet, is the award-winning and bestselling author of the histories Doubt, Stay, The Happiness Myth, and The End of the Soul. Her poetry books include Who Said, The Next Ancient World, and Funny. She earned her PhD in history from Columbia University and teaches in New York City.


"Thought-provoking and intriguing, [The Wonder Paradox] will appeal to avid readers of Elizabeth Gilbert, Julia Cameron, [and] Anne Lamott. . . [An] inspirational invitation to reconsider the role of poetry in life."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Hecht writes about how those who haven't found a home in religion can still find magic in the world, seeking meaning in culture and in literature."
--Michael Schaub, The Orange County Register

"[Jennifer Michael Hecht] designs a liturgy for a disenchanted world . . . Drawing on an admirable array of poets (many not Western), Hecht synthesizes artistic and spiritual insight in astute but not stuffy ways, and welcomes readers unsure where to start."
--Publishers Weekly

"[The Wonder Paradox] delights . . . Warmth and enthusiasm suffuse Hecht's enchanting prose, which make this book a moving, hopeful read."
--Zachariah Motts, Library Journal (starred review)

"The Wonder Paradox is part practical, inspiring guide to meaning and connection, part love letter to poetry and the role it can play in our lives. Every page sings with beautiful sentences I couldn't help but underline. At the core of this book is something deeply true: poetry is for everyone. The Wonder Paradox is a book I'll gift to friends and family--to everyone--for years to come."
--Maggie Smith, author of You Could Make This Place Beautiful

"The Wonder Paradox leads its readers into the open space between the extremes of atheism and religious belief; here, spiritual insights that lie hidden in daily experience are released through secular rituals and the practice of poetry. In her lively, useful exploration of this middle zone, Jennifer Michael Hecht offers us a wakeful perspective, both timeless and germane to our times."
--Billy Collins, poet laureate of the United States and author of Whale Day

"The Wonder Paradox takes the reader by the hand and patiently, gently, and with great care introduces us to the delights, joys, and wisdom of poetry. If Jennifer Michael Hecht is starting a movement--sign me up! Finally, here is a party worth joining."
--Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic and Dancing in Odessa

"I was immediately trapped by and then happily and gratefully in the thrall of a writer who shares my world and makes it brighter. The Wonder Paradox makes us better and smarter by assuming we already are. This is a rare heart."
--Roger Rosenblatt, author of Making Toast

"The Wonder Paradox is such a brilliant, generous, funny, helpful book. Jennifer Michael Hecht knows just what to say to guide us through our modern confusions. I've never read anything like it, and I want to give it to every friend I know."
--Matthew Zapruder, author of Story of a Poem

"A journey into The Wonder Paradox will reawaken not only your poetic imagination and search for timeless truths about existence, but also your very capacity for that most human of tendencies: wondering about the meaning of life. Reading Jennifer Michael Hecht's tour of wonder will stir your soul."
--Dacher Keltner, author of Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life