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The Poet



The poet Jane Hirshfield is what you'd called "esteemed." A graduate of Princeton, she studied at the San Francisco Zen Center and received lay ordination in Soto Zen following years of monastic practice at the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center.

She's the author of seven award-winning poetry collections, most recently Come, Thief, published by Knopf last year. Her book of essays, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, is routinely used in poetry courses. She's edited anthologies collecting the work of women poets from the past with an emphasis on poets from Japan.

Her poems have appeared in publications including The New Yorker, The Atlantic Magazine and The American Poetry Review. She's been honored with fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Academy of American Poets, where she was recently elected a chancellor.

American Poet magazine describes her as "one of our finest, most memorable contemporary poets." But enough on her resume and accolades. We'll let her poetry speak for her. (But first we should mention that she's coming to read her work on Thursday, Dec. 6, in HSU's Kate Buchanan Room.)

Sometimes The Heart Is a Shallow Autumn River

Is rock and shadow, bird.

Is fry, as the smallest fish are called,

darting in the pan of nearness.


The frog's flawless interpretation of the music "Leaf"

is a floating black-eyed emerald

slipped between the water and its reflections.


And caution, and hope, and sorrow?

As umbrellas are, to a mountain or field of grass.

The poem is included in Come, Thief (Alfred A. Knopf, 2011) and reprinted here with permission from Hirshfield.

Jane Hirshfield will read selections from her work on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. in HSU's Kate Buchanan Room, followed by an informal book signing. A selection of her work will be available for purchase. The reading is sponsored by the Department of English and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. The event is free and open to anyone who loves poetry.

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