We start 2019 with the launch of our Poetry Reading Group and exploring the work of Jane Hirshfield. A visionary and profoundly original writer, her poems ask nothing less than what it is to be human. Hers is a poetry of clarity and hybrid vigour, drawing deeply on English and American traditions but also those of world poetry. The poetries of modern and classical Greece, of Horace and Catullus, of classical China and Japan and Eastern Europe all resonate in Jane Hirshfield’s structures of thought and in her sensibilities. Indelibly of our time yet seated in the lineage of poetic discovery, these poems are meant to endure. In January we look at her selected poems Each Happiness Ringed by Lions; and in February we follow up with her Bloodaxe Poetry Lectures: Hiddenness, Uncertainty, Surprise to see how her critical wrtings illuminate her poetries.
‘Jane Hirshfield is a poet very close to my heart’ – Wislawa Szymborska
‘A profound empathy for the suffering of all living beings…It is precisely this that I praise in the poetry of Jane Hirshfield…In its highly sensuous detail, her poetry illuminates the Buddhist virtue of mindfulness’ – Czeslaw Milosz, Prze Kroj (Poland)