Jane Hirshfield is a visionary American writer whose poems ask nothing less than what it is to be human. Both sensual meditations and passionate investigations, they reveal complex truths in language luminous and precise. Rooted in the living world, her poems celebrate and elucidate a hard-won affirmation of our human fate. Born of a rigorous questioning of heart, spirit and mind, they have become indispensable to many American readers in navigating their own lives.
Hers is a poetry of clarity and hybrid vigour, drawing deeply on English and American traditions but also those of world poetry. The poetries of modern and classical Greece, of Horace and Catullus, of classical China and Japan and Eastern Europe all resonate in Jane Hirshfield’s structures of thought and in her sensibilities. Indelibly of our time yet seated in the lineage of poetic discovery, these poems are meant to endure.
‘Jane Hirshfield is a poet very close to my heart’ – Wislawa Szymborska
‘A profound empathy for the suffering of all living beings…It is precisely this that I praise in the poetry of Jane Hirshfield…In its highly sensuous detail, her poetry illuminates the Buddhist virtue of mindfulness’ – Czeslaw Milosz, Prze Kroj (Poland)
‘Her poetry is a rich and assured gift…an extraordinary intertwining of cherished detail and passionate abstraction…The poems’ realised ambition is wisdom’ – Alison Brackenbury, Agenda
‘Poems of quiet wisdom, steeped in a profound understanding of what it it to be human’ – The Scotsman
Jane Hirshfield reads two poems
Jane Hirshfield reads two poems, 'Tree' from Each Happiness Ringed by Lions: Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2005) and 'Burlap Sack' from After (HarperCollins, USA/Bloodaxe Books, UK, 2006). 'Tree' first appeared in her US edition Given Sugar, Given Salt (HarperCollins, 2001). This film is from the DVD-book In Person: 30 Poets filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce, edited by Neil Astley, which includes seven poems read by Jane Hirshfield selected from her two Bloodaxe titles.