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The Asking by Jane Hirshfield
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The Asking

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The Asking by Jane Hirshfield
Hardcover $35.00
Sep 12, 2023 | ISBN 9780593535950

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  • Sep 12, 2023 | ISBN 9780593791783

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“Among the most distinguished living poets in the English language, Jane Hirshfield is best known for finding the profound in the mundane, the mystical (but never supernatural) in the materiality of existence—an open-hearted relationship to the large and small . . . All with the clarity of sun on snowmelt.” —Wen Stephenson, The Nation

“For half a century, Jane Hirshfield has been slaking the world’s soul on poems of perspective and consolation, fusing her Buddhist training, her passion for science, and her tenderness for all things living. The Asking collects some of her best work . . . poems that that achieve the most difficult and paradoxical of triumphs for a work of art: to remind us who and what we are, while at the same time furnishing what Iris Murdoch called ‘an occasion for unselfing’.” —Maria Popova, The Marginalian, “Favorite Books of 2023”

“Jane Hirshfield has given us a body of work that is like no other in its ability to take a short lyric and fill it to the brim with passion and clarity of perspective, with precision and openness to the unknown. She is one of the few contemporaries whose work has already commanded a devoted readership for many years—and, without any doubt, for many more years to come. We are in the presence here of something extraordinary: a voice that feels as timeless as it is very much of this moment.″ —Ilya Kaminsky, McSweeney’s 

“[Hirshfield’s] celebration of minute details brings readers into a space of awareness that continues even after our eyes leave the page. Hirshfield writes in awe of the world, of science and of imagination, and she threads her ideas together with a specificity and power of observation that demands our attention.” —Freya Sachs, BookPage

“Hirshfield is our poet of wonder and compassion. . . . [The Asking] represents a lifetime of vocation . . . attentive to life’s vicissitudes and the task of creating meaning through our lives without sure answers to ultimate questions.” Spirituality and Practice

“If bigness is a measure of poetry, or radius of impact let’s say, then Jane Hirshfield easily ranks among the giants. . . . Hirshfield’s poems permeate our lives: they bless our weddings, show us why we must equate love with grief, they speak our own mythology and that of the Greeks’, they remind us to turn to the pleasures of skies, rivers and mountains while encouraging venture for the sake of venturing, and show us if we are open to it, how to greet the mystery of the self. . . . [Her poems’] meditative and tranquil qualities carry the body and heart. This volume is a gift.” —Debbra Palmer, New York Journal of Books

“Hirshfield’s mindfully measured poems, inquiries into the mysteries and fundamentals of being alive, of being human, are essential works . . . her lyrics are lushly observed and deeply questioning as well as nimble, imaginative, witty, and poignant . . . Her profound attunement to life’s interconnectivity inspires her incisive dismay over our roughshod decimation of the great living web that sustains us. Hirshfield’s exquisitely formed, intricate reckonings incandesce in this necessary collection.” —Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)

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