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Hirshfield, Jane (author).
Aug. 2011. 108p. Knopf, hardcover, $25 (9780307595423). 811.
REVIEW. First published August, 2011 (Booklist).
Hirshfield’s lucid poems are philosophical and sensuous, concise yet mysterious. Ruefully funny and irreverently reverent. They are also gloriously earthy as she looks deeply at trees, animals, insects, and our own wondrous if betraying bodies. An avidly read poet garlanded with prestigious awards, Hirshfield discerns paradoxical wisdom in gravity, time, and memory, red wine, a worn carpet, and a penny. The lilt and patterns of her language are beautifully osmotic, altering our brain waves and our perception of how all the world’s pieces fit together. The poet feasts on the sights and sounds of bees, plums, and young musicians and ponders simultaneous forms of consciousness. Molecules inspire thoughts on matter and the perpetuity of motion and change; evolution’s slow parade summons recognition of life’s “wanting to live.” Hirshfield writes with a mystic’s joy and holy radar about the “visual heat” surrounding a person in love and how “moonlight builds its cold chapel.” Wittily deductive and metaphysically resplendent, Hirshfield’s supple and knowing poems reflect her long view, her quest for balance, and her exuberant participation in the circle dance of existence. — Donna Seaman
Causes Jane Hirshfield Supports
International Campaign for Tibet