Jane Hirshfield

Poetry, Passion And Zen with Jane Hirshfield


Product Description

“Poetry is a natural way to express what it means to be human,” says Jane Hirshfield. “Its depth and color are found in every culture and every age—in the writings not only of famous men but of equally gifted women who have been largely ignored.” Hirshfield herself assembled a historical collection of women’s poetry that speaks to the beauty and wisdom of women’s spiritual experience. She reveals recurring themes in this poetry, such as the ideas that the Divine is experienced through everyday actions and events, and that emotions belong in the enlightened life rather than detract from it. Hirshfield offers gentle wisdom about writing and appreciating poetry: “The poem is the speech of the inner heart, the inner mind,” she says. “If you can simply hear what it’s saying as if it were being whispered to you in the dark, you will understand good poems.” (hosted by Michael Toms)


Jane Hirshfield was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, a recipient of the Poetry Center Book Award, the Commonwealth Club of California’s Poetry Medal, and fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations. She is the author of seven collections of poetry, a book of essays, and three books collecting the women poets from the past.

Jane Hirshfield’s books include:

To learn more about the work of Jane Hirshfield go to www.facebook.com/janehirshfield.

Topics explored in this dialogue include:

  • Overcoming the “fear of poetry”
  • Writing, hearing and understanding poetry
  • Women’s poetry in the ancient Japanese imperial court
  • What mystics of all traditions say about the Divine and the everyday
  • How Zen practice relates to poetry
  • Her extensive search for sacred writings by women
  • Undiscovered women writers who exist “wherever you have men writers”
  • The Beguine women’s spiritual communities of the 12th-14th centuries
  • The modern rediscovery of Sophia, ancient goddess of wisdom
  • Getting to wisdom by losing innocence and breaking the rules
  • The “bodhisattva of emotions” who wants to liberate dark feelings

Host:  Michael Toms        Interview Date:    9/13/1994         Program Number: 2486

Music included :

From Album: Gula Gula
Artist: Mari Boine Persen
1990 Real World  #91631-2

From Album: Hunter
Artist: Jennifer Warnes
Private Music #01005-82089-2

From Album: What the Mother Pot Sings
Artist: Susan Berman
Fine Tuning Music #FT 101


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