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. Bloodaxe published her retrospective "Each Happiness Ringed by Lions: Selected Poems" in 2004. Her latest collection, "After", is an extended investigation into incarnation, transience and interconnection. These alert, incisive and compassionate poems examine the human condition through subjects ranging from spareness, possibility, judgement and hidden grief to global warming, insomnia, meanings in overlooked parts of speech, and the metaphysics of sneezing. Often elegies - some overt, others implicit - these poems resound with a bass-note awareness of time, its inexorable subtractions but also its exuberant gifts.
Jane Hirshfield was born in 1953 in New York and lives in northern California. Her first book of poetry published in the UK was Each Happiness Ringed by Lions: Selected Poems (Bloodaxe, 2004), which draws on her collections Alaya (1982), Of Gravity & Angels (1988), The October Palace (1994), The Lives of the Heart (1997) and Given Sugar, Given Salt (2001). She edited the bestselling anthology Women in Praise of the Sacred (1994), and co-translated The Ink Dark Moon: Poems by Ono No Komachi and Izumi Shikibu (1988) - another bestseller in the States - and, with Robert Bly, Mirabai: Ecstatic Poems (2004). Her own poetry was translated into Polish by Czeslaw Milosz, who also wrote the introduction to her Polish Selected Poems. She has won numerous literary awards.
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