January 7, 2019

Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield will be in Duluth on March 5, 2019 7:30 pm at Mitchell Auditorium, College of St. Scholastica.

Francis X. Shea Memorial Lecture

See Facebook event for details: https://www.facebook.com/events/323573284890742/

In her book, Nine Gates, Entering the Mind of Poetry, Hirshfield writes:
Every good poem begins in language awake to its own connections — language that hears itself and what is around it, sees itself and what is around it, looks back at those who look into its gaze and knows more perhaps even than we do about who are, what we are. It begins, that is, in the mind and body of concentration. 
By concentration, I mean a particular state of awareness: penetrating, unified, and focused, yet also permeable and open. This quality of consciousness, though not easily put into words, is instantly recognizable. Aldous Huxley described it as the moment the doors of perception open; James Joyce called it epiphany. The experience of concentration may be quietly physical — a simple, unexpected sense of deep accord between yourself and everything. It may come as the harvest of long looking and leave us, as it did Wordsworth, a mind thought “too deep for tears.” Within action, it is felt as a grace state: time slows and extends, and a person’s every movement and decision seem to partake of perfection. Concentration can also be placed into things — it radiates undimmed from Vermeer’s paintings, from the small marble figure of a lyre-player from ancient Greece, from a Chinese three-footed bowl — and into musical notes, words, ideas. In the wholeheartedness of concentration, world and self begin to cohere. With that state comes an enlarging: of what may be known, what may be felt, what may be done.
You can order the book through the publisher at

Also see Jane Hirshfield's article posted at the Poetry Foundation, "Spiritual Poetry."

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