Poetry Everywhere
"The heat of autumn..."

Jane Hirshfield

The Heat of Autumn

Jane Hirshfield was born in New York City in 1953. Describing her decision to leave the poetry world shortly after publishing her first poem in 1973, she told reviewer Rose Solari, "I felt that I'd never make much of a poet if I didn't know more than I knew at that time about what it means to be a human being." Hirshfield spent the next eight years studying Zen Buddhism at the San Francisco Zen Center. She returned to writing and began teaching in the early 1980s. She has since published several collections of poetry, including Of Gravity & Angels (1988), Given Sugar, Given Salt (2001), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and After (2006). "For Hirshfield, concerns about judgment, certainty, and human agency have been a pulse running through her life and her poems," wrote literary critic Cynthia Haven. Among Hirshfield's many honors are a Poetry Center Book Award, fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, and Columbia University's Translation Center Award. In 2004, Hirshfield was awarded the 70th Academy Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement by the Academy of American Poets. She has taught at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of San Francisco, and has been the Elliston Visiting Poet at the University of Cincinnati. She is currently on the faculty of the Bennington MFA Writing Seminars through Bennington College in Vermont. This animation was created by Adam Deniston. The poem is read here by Flora Coker.

To read this and other poems by Jane Hirshfield, as well as biographical information about the poet, please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.