Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Window into Poetry and Change with Jane Hirshfield

Poetry, the poet and essayist Jane Hirshfield reminds us, was born in need. “We read or write poems because we need them,” she writes in Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World. “The first poems were work songs, love songs, war songs, lullabies, prayers – rituals meant to carry assistance.”

Hirshfield is the author of eight poetry collections: Alaya (1982); Of Gravity & Angels (1988); The October Palace (1994); The Lives of the Heart (1997); Given Sugar, Given Salt (2001); After (2006); Come, Thief (2011); and The Beauty (2105). She is also a poetry translator, editor of anthologies, and the author of Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry (1997) and other collections of essays. She’s received enough recognitions and honors to fill two or three articles; see her entry at the Poetry Foundation.

It was coincidence that I was reading Hirshfield’s Ten Windows at the time of the election. Published in 2015, the book is a collection of 10 essays on poetry. The subtitle, “How Great Poems Transform the World,” is somewhat misleading; the essays do not directly address that subject. Indirectly, however, they do. The essays are just subtler about it.

Like poetry.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

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