January 27, 2012 — Kay Ryan, former U.S. poet laureate, called Poet Jane Hirshfield "an eloquent and exacting poet." Hirshfield will bring those qualities and more to the University of Virginia with a weeklong residency Jan. 30 through Feb. 3.
She will give a poetry reading, free and open to the public, on Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature and Culture/Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.
Her seven books of poetry include the most recent "Come, Thief," as well as "Given Sugar, Given Salt," which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
She also writes essays and has translated works by early women poets in "The Ink Dark Moon: Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan" and in "Women in Praise of the Sacred: Forty-Three Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women."
"I don't think poetry is based just on poetry; it is based on a thoroughly lived life," she has said in an interview. "And so I couldn't just decide I was going to write no matter what; I first had to find out what it means to live."
She received her B.A. from Princeton University in its first coeducational graduating class and spent eight years studying at the San Francisco Zen Center before publishing her first book.
She was elected a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2012.
Ryan described Hirshfield as "that rare thing in contemporary American life, a true person of letters – an eloquent and exacting poet, first, but in addition, the author of enduring essays and influential translations and anthologies."
The Rea Visiting Writers Series is funded through the Dungannon Foundation in memory of Michael Rea, an ardent supporter of the arts and U.Va.