Jane Hirshfield

Jane
Hirshfield
1953

American Poet, Essayist and Translator, Zen Buddhist

Author Quotes

An ordinary hole beside a path through the woods might begin to open to altered worlds.

Between certainty and the real, an ancient enmity.

Every other year or so I go to one of those great generous places, the artist retreats. Some of the poems in The Beauty were written at the MacDowell Colony, in New Hampshire, and others at Civitella Ranieri, in Umbria.

Houses are fundamental metaphors for self, world, permeability, transition, interiority, exteriority, multiplicity, and the power to move from one state of being to another.

I feel like I am in the service of the poem. The poem isn't something I make. The poem is something I serve.

And that other self, who watches me from the distance of decades, what will she say? Will she look at me with hatred or with compassion, I whose choices made her what she will be?

But it also lives in the moment, in us. Emotion, intellect, and physiology are inseparably connected in the links of a poem?s sound. It is difficult to feel intimacy while shouting, to rage in a low whisper, to skip and weep at the same time.

Everything has two endings- a horse, a piece of string, a phone call. Before a life, air. And after. As silence is not silence, but a limit of hearing.

How else learn the real, if not by inventing what might lie outside it?

I hope my poems might offer: ?Here is one experience of life, of its possibilities, exhilarations, bewilderments, griefs. Enter. Now, here is another.? When we bring that spirit of openness, permeability, exploration, and courage into our lives and our hands, everything else follows: a deeper saturation and compassion, a recalibrating sense of proportion, an increase of the possible. Good poems make clarity without making simple. They do not erase darkness; if anything, they open into it. But wouldn?t the page of a day be dull and undistinguished, almost as if unsigned by existence, without its charcoal?

Author Picture
First Name
Jane
Last Name
Hirshfield
Birth Date
1953
Bio

American Poet, Essayist and Translator, Zen Buddhist