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Jane Hirshfield image

Award-winning Poet, Translator & Essayist

BIOGRAPHY

Jane Hirshfield, in poems described by The Washington Post as belonging “among the modern masters” and by The New York Times as “passionate and radiant,addresses the urgent immediacies of our time. Ranging from the political, ecological, and scientific to the metaphysical, personal, and passionate, Hirshfield praises the radiance of particularity and the consequence of the daily. Her poems and essays traverse the crises of the biosphere and social justice, abiding in the intersections of facts and imagination, desire and loss, impermanence and beauty— all the dimensions of our existence within what one poem calls “the pure democracy of being.”

Her eight poetry books include The Beauty, long-listed for the 2015 National Book Award; Given Sugar, Given Salt, a finalist for the 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award; and After, short-listed for England’s T.S. Eliot Award and named a “best book of 2006” by The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, and England’s Financial Times. Her two collections of essays, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry (1997) and Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World (2015), have become classics in their field, as have her four books collecting and co-translating the work of world poets from the past: The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Komachi & Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Japanese CourtWomen in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by WomenMirabai: Ecstatic Poems; and The Heart of Haiku, on Matsuo Basho, named an Amazon Best Book of 2011.   

Hirshfield’s other honors include The Poetry Center Book Award; fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Academy of American Poets; Columbia University’s Translation Center Award;  The California Book Award, Northern California Book Reviewers Award, and the Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry. Her work appears in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Review of Books, Poetry, and ten editions of The Best American Poetry. In fall 2004, Jane Hirshfield was awarded the 70th Academy Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement by The Academy of American Poets, an honor formerly held by such poets as Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Elizabeth Bishop. In 2012, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. In March 2019 she was voted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Hirshfield has taught at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Duke University, Bennington College, and elsewhere. Her work has been translated into over a dozen languages and set by numerous composers, including John Adams and Philip Glass; her TED-ED animated introduction to metaphor has received over 800,000 views. An intimate and profound master of her art, her frequent appearances at universities, writers’ conferences and festivals in this country and abroad are highly acclaimed. Hirshfield’s ninth poetry collection, Ledger, will appear from Knopf in early 2020.

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