A dazzling collection of essays on how the best poems work, from the master poet and essayist
JANE HIRSHFIELDais the author of eight books of poetry, includingaThe Beauty;aCome, Thief; After;aandaGiven Sugar, Given Salt.aShe has edited and cotranslated four books presenting the work of poets from the past and is the author of two major collections of essays,aNine Gates- Entering the Mind of PoetryaandaTen Windows- How Great Poems Transform the World.aHer books have been finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award and England's T. S. Eliot Prize; they have been named best books of the year by The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Amazon, and Financial Times; and they have won the California Book Award, the Poetry Center Book Award, and the Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry. Hirshfield has received fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Academy of American Poets. Her poems appear inaThe New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Times Literary Supplement, Poetry, The New Republic,aand seven editions ofaThe Best American Poetry.aA resident of Northern California since 1974, she is a current chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
"Probing and insightful...deeply illuminating...This brilliant collection [asks], 'How do poems--how does art--work?' Hirshfield's original excursions take no shortcuts, subtly integrating image, statement, experience, and understanding." --World Literature Today
"One of our finest poets [and] best essayists on the act of writing and the art of poetry...She speaks to the largest audience of poetry lovers...Windows are thrown open to a vision of poetry from the inside looking out." --New York Journal of Books
"In 20 or 30 years, this book may be remembered as one of the great common-readers on the pleasures of poetry . . . . [Hirshfield's] approach to poetry is exhilarating. Reading her is reminiscent of the joy found among the insights and illuminations of Hugh Kenner's best work . . . . This thrilling work of immense value is truly an important book on one of the most important subjects: poetry. However, like a strong drink (or a great poem) it probably isn't to be taken in a single gulp. It may even seem a little intoxicating, but drink."--Library Journal, starred review
"With precision and passion, Hirshfield elucidates poetry's "musical shapeliness," "creative intention," embrace of uncertainty, and how poetry engenders a profound "unlatching." She draws stirring examples from Shakespeare, Hopkins, Whitman, Auden, Bishop, Milosz, Brooks, and Komunyakaa and illuminates the power of haiku in her affecting in-depth profile of the Japanese poet Bash. Hirshfield writes brilliantly of paradox in poetry, of what poets and stand-up comics have in common, and how poetry "counters isolation and meaninglessness." The profound pleasure Hirshfield takes in delineating poetry's efficacy makes for a beautifully enlightening volume. --Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)
From the Hardcover edition.