Jane Hirshfield

Literary Birthday – 24 February – Jane Hirshfield

Happy Birthday, Jane Hirshfield, born 24 February 1953.


  1. Solitude, whether endured or embraced, is a necessary gateway to original thought.
  2. Poems want to awaken intimacy, connection, expansion, and wildness.
  3. At some point I realised that you don’t get a full human life if you try to cut off one end of it, that you need to agree to the entire experience, to the full spectrum of what happens.
  4. Zen pretty much comes down to three things — everything changes; everything is connected; pay attention.
  5. How fragile we are, between the few good moments.
  6. History, mythology, and folktales are filled with stories of people punished for saying the truth. Only the Fool, exempt from society’s rules, is allowed to speak with complete freedom.
  7. The creative is always an act of recombination, with something added by new juxtaposition—as making a spark requires two things struck together.
  8. Poems give us permission to be unsure, in ways we must be if we are ever to learn anything not already known. If you look with open eyes at your actual life, it’s always going to be the kind of long division problem that doesn’t work out perfectly evenly. Poems let you accept the multiplicity and complexity of the actual, they let us navigate the unnavigable, insoluble parts of our individual fates and shared existence.
  9. Poetry’s work is the clarification and magnification of being.

Read: Why Jane Hirshfield Writes

Jane Hirshfield is an American poet, essayist, and translator. She is the author of seven collections of poetry, including Come Thief, After, and Given Sugar, Given Salt; as well as a now-classic book of essays, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, Essays.

Source for quotes /Source for image: Author’s Facebook Page (as suggested by her publicist)

by Amanda Patterson

Are you interested in more authors’ birthdays? Please click here: Literary Birthday Calendar

Posted on: 24th February 2014