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Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield was born in New York City and graduated from Princeton University in 1973. She then worked on a farm for a year, picking corn, peaches, apples, and pumpkins. After moving to California, she studied for eight years at the San Francisco Zen Center and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center– which she first learned of through an early edition of the Tassajara Bread Book. As part of her training in Zen, she was made one of the original dinner cooks at Greens Restaurant, where she worked for three years with founding chef Deborah Madison; she later helped edit The Greens Cookbook. The author of six books of poetry, including After, which was named a “best book of 2006” by The Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, and England’s Financial Times, Hirshfield has taught at UC Berkeley, Duke University, and Bennington College.

Hirshfield’s other poetry collections include The Lives of the Heart andGiven Sugar, Given Salt, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She has also written the highly influential prose collection,Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry and translated and edited the works of early women poets in several collections, including The Ink Dark Moon: Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu. Her poetry has been called “radiant and passionate” by The New York Times Book Review, and has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Slate, Orion, and England’s Times Literary Supplement, as well as various textbooks, anthologies, and five editions ofThe Best American Poetry. She is regularly featured on Garrison Keillor’sWriters Almanac public radio program, and has been the subject of two Bill Moyers PBS television specials.

Hirshfield’s honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Academy of American Poets 40th Chancellors’ Fellowship, an honor previously held by Elizabeth Bishop, William Carlos Williams, and Robert Frost. She lives in California and is at work on a new collection of poems,Come, Thief, forthcoming from Knopf in August 2011.

Online Resources:

Cynthia Haven article @ The Poetry Foundation
Washington Post review of AFTER
PBS’s Poetry Everywhere with Garrison Keillor (video)
Several poems in Slate
Hirshfield in KWLS Audio Archives: 2010

Selected Bibliography:

Come, Thief (Knopf 2011)

After (HarperCollins 2006)

Mirabai: Ecstatic Poems (trans. with Robert Bly) (Beacon Press 2004)

Given Sugar, Given Salt (HarperCollins 2001)

Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry (HarperCollins 1997)

The Lives of the Heart (HarperCollins 1997)

The October Palace (HarperCollins 1994)

Of Gravity & Angels (Wesleyan University Press 1988)

Alaya (The Quarterly Review of Literature Poetry Series 1982)