Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield's poems have been described by the Washington Post as belonging “among the modern masters”. Her nine poetry books include Ledger (Knopf, 2020), The Beauty (Knopf, 2015), long-listed for the National Book Award; Given Sugar, Given Salt (HarperCollins, 2001), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and After, short-listed for the T.S. Eliot Prize and named a “best book of 2006” by the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Financial Times. Her other books include two collections of essays: Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry (1997) and Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World (2015), and four books of translations: The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Komachi & Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Japanese Court (Vintage Classics, 1990); Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women (Vintage Classics, 1994); Mirabai: Ecstatic Poems (with Robert Bly); and The Heart of Haiku, on Matsuo Basho, named an Amazon Best Book of 2011.

Hirshfield’s work appears in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Review of Books, Poetry, and ten editions of The Best American Poetry. Her poems and essays have been translated into over a dozen languages and her work has been set by numerous composers, including John Adams and Philip Glass. Her TED-ED animated lesson on metaphor has received over one million views.

In 2004, Jane Hirshfield was awarded the 70th Academy Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement by The Academy of American Poets, an honor formerly held by such poets as Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Elizabeth Bishop. In 2012, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. In 2019, she was elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2022 Hirshfield was appointed Seamus Heaney International Visiting Poetry Fellow at Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland. Her other honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Academy of American Poets; Columbia University’s Translation Center Award; The Poetry Center Book Award, The California Book Award, the Northern California Book Reviewers Award, and the Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry.

Hirshfield has taught at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Bennington College, and elsewhere. Her next collection of poetry, The Asking: New & Selected Poems is forthcoming from Knopf (September 2023).

The Groundfall Pear


It is the one he chooses,
Yellow, plump, a little bruised
On one side from falling.
That place he takes first.