The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Poetry

Comments & Reviews

"One of the more extraordinary nonfiction books of the past twenty years."—George Myers, The Columbus Dispatch, 1998.

"The Gift is a book that reminds us of our cultural gifts and our responsibilities to them, and does so with an eloquence and style that enacts the very art-making it describes."—Zadie Smith

"Few books are such life-changers as The Gift: epiphany, in sculpted prose."—Jonathan Lethem

"It is clear that Lewis Hyde is one of the finest essayists of his generation. His subject is the old gift-giving cultures and their relation to the colder commodity societies. This book explains many things about gifts, and their relation to art and community. It is well-documented, brave and startling."—Robert Bly

"The Gift actually deserves the hyperbolic praise that in most blurbs is so empty. It is the sort of book that you remember where you were and even what you were wearing when you first picked it up. The sort that you hector friends about until they read it too. This is not just formulaic blurbspeak; it is the truth. No one who is invested in any kind of art, in questions of what real art does and doesn't have to do with money, spirituality, ego, love, ugliness, sales, politics, morality, marketing, and whatever you call 'value,' can read The Gift and remain unchanged."—David Foster Wallace

"The Gift has been a source of inspiration and affirmation in my artistic practice for over twenty years. It is the best book I have read on what it means to be an artist in today's economic world. It has shown me why we still use the word 'gift' to describe artistic talent, and that selflessness, not self-expression, lies at the root of all creative acts."—Bill Viola

"The Gift goes to the same sources as Marshall Sahlins, Stanley Diamond, Ivan Illich, and many others. It aids in the developing critique of civilization itself, and points toward sanity. Lewis Hyde has done us all a service!"—Gary Snyder

"A masterpiece.... The Gift is the best book I know of for the aspiring young, for talented but unacknowledged creators or even for those who have achieved material success and are worried that this means they've sold out."—Margaret Atwood

"Absolutely interesting and original.... An exciting book for anyone interested in the place of creativity in our culture."—Annie Dillard

"Fascinating and compelling.... Seems to light up everything it touches, including the reader's mind."—Theodore Solotaroff, The New Republic.

"The Gift moves beyond the worn categories of manipulation versus liberation and asceticism versus hedonism to offer and original and provocative critique of capitalist culture.... Hyde... has written a remarkable book."—Jackson Lears, The Nation.