Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield featured in: * The Best American Poetry: 2005, guest editor Paul Muldoon.

* Poems. * Translated poems. * Prose.
* Questions, Answers. * Time line. * Links and Books.

Poems of Jane Hirshfield

2015: The Beauty

Buy 'Beauty' The Beauty is Hirshfield's eighth collection of poems; longlisted for the National Book Award and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2015.

2006: After

Buy 'After'

2001: Given Sugar, Given Salt

Buy 'Given Sugar, Given Salt'

1997: The Lives of the Heart: Poems

Buy 'The Lives of the Heart'

1994: The October Palace

1988: Of Gravity and Angels

Buy 'Of Gravity and Angels'

1982: Alaya

Translated poems.

The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan (1986. Expanded edition 1992.)

Buy 'The Ink Dark Moon'

A jewel box of Tanka poems, written with the translation help and Romaji of Mariko Aratani.

Essay material added in the later editions makes this an even more valuable teaching text.

Prose of Jane Hirshfield.

2015: Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World

Buy 'Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World'

Ten chapters:

  1. "Kingfishers Catching Fire: Looking with Poetry's Eyes."

  2. "Language Wakes up in the Morning: On Poetry's Speaking."

  3. "Seeing Through Words: An Introduction to Bash̄, Haiku, and the Suppleness of Images."

  4. "Thoreau's Hound: Poetry and the Hidden."

  5. "Uncarryable Remainders: Poetry and Uncertainty."

  6. "Close Reading: Windows."

  7. "Poetry and the Constellation of Surprise."

  8. "What is American in American Poetry: a Brief Primer with Poems."

  9. "Poetry, Transformation, and the Column of Tears."

  10. "Strange Reaches, Impossibility, and Big Hidden Drawers: Poetry and Paradox."

1998: Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry

Buy 'Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry'

Questions, Answers.

After a reading in 2006, about five weeks since the publication of After, Jane responded publicly to these questions. She was very generous in allowing herself to make connections and expand her response as she spoke. Both questions and answers are reported as closely as possible to their original, but we acknowledge that we may have somewhat paraphrased:

The title of the poem that you opened the reading with is 'Theology'. How I heard the poem was strongly affected by the title. What is your 'art and process' of making titles?

How does your Zen practice interact with your writing practice?
My writing and my Zen are the two feet that I walk on. They both help me understand better how it feels to be a human being.

What was the effect on you of translating The Ink Dark Moon?

What was your process on deciding the sequence of the poems for After? How did that process compare with the work for you earlier books?

Time Line

In Princeton University's 1973 graduating class.
Entered the San Francisco Zen Center for 8 years of full-time practice, including 3 years at at their Tassajara monastery.
Ended full-time practice with the San Francisco Zen Center.
Publication of first book of poems: Alaya.
Translation: The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan.
Helped Stephen Mitchell prepare an anthology of sacred poetry, especially by adding work of women poets.
Poems: Of Gravity and Angels
Translation: expanded edition of The Ink Dark Moon.
Poems: The October Palace.
Poems: The Lives of the Heart.
Essays: Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry.
Poems: Given Sugar, Given Salt
Poems: After.
Essays: Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World.

Links and Books.

Links and Books.

[Thanks for visiting.]