The Beauty: Poems (Paperback)
An incandescent collection from one of American poetry's most distinctive and essential voicesThe Beauty opens with a series of dappled, ranging "My" poems--"My Skeleton," "My Corkboard," "My Species," "My Weather"--in which Hirshfield uses materials both familiar and unexpected to explore the magnitude, singularity, and permeability of our shared existence. Of her memory, she writes, "Like the small soaps and shampoos / a traveler brings home / then won't use, / you, memory, / almost weightless / this morning inside me." With a pen faithful to the actual yet dipped at times in the ink of the surreal, Hirshfield cuts, as always, directly to the heart of human experience. Her robust affirmation of choice even amid inevitability and her contemplation of our moral, societal, and biological intertwinings sustain poems that tune and retune the keys of a life. For Hirshfield, "Zero Plus Anything Is a World." Her recipes for that world ("add salt to hunger," "add time to trees") offer an altered understanding of our lives' losses and additions, and of the small and larger beauties we so often miss.
About the Author
JANE HIRSHFIELD is the author of eight books of poetry, including The Beauty; Come, Thief; After; and Given Sugar, Given Salt. She has edited and cotranslated four books presenting the work of poets from the past and is the author of two major collections of essays, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry and Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World. Her 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 have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Times Literary Supplement, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Harper's Magazine, Poetry, Orion, Discover, The American Poetry Review, McSweeney's, the Pushcart Prize anthology, and eight editions of The Best American Poetry. A resident of Northern California since 1974, she is a current chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. From the Hardcover edition.