Biography of Jane Hirshfield
Jane Hirshfield (born 24 February 1953) is an American poet, essayist, and translator. She was born in February 24, 1953. She was born on East 20th Street, New York City. She received her bachelor's degree from Princeton University in the school's first graduating class to include women.
Hirshfield's seven books of poetry have each received numerous awards. Her fifth book, Given Sugar, Given Salt, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and her sixth collection, After, was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize (UK) and named a 'best book of 2006' by The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the Financial Times. She has written a book of essays, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry. The Ink Dark Moon, her co-translation of the work of the two foremost women poets of classical-era Japan, was instrumental in bringing tanka (a 31-syllable Japanese poetic form) to the attention of American poets. She has edited four books collecting the work of poets from the past and is noted as being "part of a wave of important scholarship then seeking to recover the forgotten history of women writers." She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1985, the Academy of American Poets’ 2004 Fellowship for Distinguished Achievement, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in 2005, and the Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Award in American Poetry in 2012.
Hirshfield has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, University of San Francisco, The Bennington Writing Seminars, and as the Elliston Visiting Poet at the University of Cincinnati. She has also taught at many writers conferences, including Bread Loaf and The Napa Valley Writers Conference and has served as both core and associate faculty in the Bennington Master of Fine Arts Writing Seminars. Hirshfield appears frequently in literary festivals both in America and abroad, including the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, the National Book Festival, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Poetry International (London, UK), the China Poetry Festival (Xi'an, China), and the Second International Gathering of the Poets [Kraków, Poland]. She is also a contributing editor at The Alaska Quarterly Review and Ploughshares, a former guest editor of The Pushcart Prize Anthology and an advisory editor at Orion and Tricycle.
Honors and awards
The Poetry Center Book Award
The California Book Award
Fellowship, Guggenheim Foundation
Fellowship, Rockefeller Foundation,
Fellowship, Academy of American Poets
Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts
Columbia University's Translation Center Award
Commonwealth Club of California Poetry Medal
Bay Area Book Reviewers Award
Academy Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement from The Academy of American Poets (2004)
Finalist, T. S. Eliot Prize
Finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award
Elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, 2012
Jane Hirshfield Poems
I was walking again in the woods, a yellow light was sifting all I saw.
The Heart's Counting Knows Only One
In Sung China, two monks friends for sixty years watched the geese pass. Where are they going?
Some stories last many centuries, others only a moment. All alter over that lifetime like beach-glass, grow distant and more beautiful with salt.
It is a simple garment, this slipped-on world. We wake into it daily - open eyes, braid hair - a robe unfurled in rose-silk flowering, then laid bare
My mare, when she was in heat, would travel the fenceline for hours, wearing the impatience in her feet into the ground.
The heart's reasons seen clearly, even the hardest will carry its whip-marks and sadness and must be forgiven.
One day in that room, a small rat. Two days later, a snake. Who, seeing me enter, whipped the long stripe of his body under the bed, then curled like a docile house-pet.
A Blessing For Wedding
Today when persimmons ripen Today when fox-kits come out of their den into snow Today when the spotted egg releases its wren song
It is foolish to let a young redwood grow next to a house.
A hand is not four fingers and a thumb. Nor is it palm and knuckles, not ligaments or the fat's yellow pillow, not tendons, star of the wristbone, meander of veins.
As the house of a person in age sometimes grows cluttered with what is too loved or too heavy to part with,
You work with what you are given, the red clay of grief, the black clay of stubbornness going on after. Clay that tastes of care or carelessness, clay that smells of the bottoms of rivers or dust.
Take the used-up heart like a pebble and throw it far out.
In nature, molecules are chiral—they turn in one direction or the other. Naturally then, someone wondered:
It is a simple garment, this slipped-on world.
We wake into it daily - open eyes, braid hair -
a robe unfurled
in rose-silk flowering, then laid bare.
And yes, it is a simple enough task
we've taken on,
though also vast:
from dusk to dawn,