DescriptionA pivotal book of personal, ecological, and political reckoning tuned toward issues of consequence to all who share this world's current and future fate, from the internationally renowned poet. Ledger's pages hold the most important and masterly work yet by Jane Hirshfield, one of our most celebrated contemporary poets. From the already much-quoted opening lines of despair and defiance ("Let them not say: we did not see it. / We saw"), Hirshfield's poems inscribe a registry, both personal and communal, of our present-day predicaments. They call us to deepened dimensions of thought, feeling, and action. They summon our responsibility to sustain one another and the earth while pondering, acutely and tenderly, the crises of refugees, justice, and climate. They consider "the minimum mass for a whale, for a language, an ice cap," recognize the intimacies of connection, and meditate upon doubt and contentment, a library book with previously dog-eared corners, the hunger for surprise, and the debt we owe this world's continuing beauty. Hirshfield's signature alloy of fact and imagination, clarity and mystery, inquiry, observation, and embodied emotion has created a book of indispensable poems by a "modern master" (The Washington Post).
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About the Author
"Jane Hirshfield's poems often feel like whole landscapes, graciously embracing the widest view and the tiniest sequins at once . . . Her longtime practice of Soto Zen Buddhism and her commitments to scientific knowledge and respect blend to create some of the most important poetry in the world today." --Naomi Shihab Nye, The New York Times Magazine"Reading her work, I catch myself thinking that Hirshfield is the poet who orchestrates silences . . . It isn't easy these days to find a poet who can do this while being also perfectly articulate and clear. Reading Hirshfield, I find myself coming back to Mahmoud Darwish's idea that clarity is our ultimate mystery." --Ilya Kaminsky, The Paris Review "A new volume of poems by acclaimed poet Jane Hirshfield is an event. After reading the poems in Ledger--a capacious, varied volume--it seems as if ordinary life is richer and deeper than before . . . A Hirshfield poem is an exercise in opening the self . . . The value of such work is beyond question." --Magdalena Kay, World Literature Today "The vigilant, deeply observed poems in Ledger are an antidote to collective blindness." --Jessica Zack, San Francisco Chronicle
"[Hirshfield] understands the world in all its happiness, melancholy, unpleasant surprise and moments of resilience." --Amy Bloom, The New York Times"When a poet's purpose is tied to our own fate, we tend to notice the poems more seriously because it's not only the 'dexterous pen and the beautiful hand, ' but a moral clarity we want . . . This happens while reading Hirshfield more than most . . . Writers are denizens of a complex world, figuring it out for us. They restore consciousness, rinse off language, and create a finer air. Hirshfield has done this for many years. Ledger continues that literary history. It is another invitation to find the many choices within ourselves." --Grace Cavelieri, The Washington Independent Review of Books "Poet Jane Hirshfield fuses science, loss, and wonder in her new collection, Ledger . . . A tender and fearsome accounting of how humans have used and abused the planet. The poems are infused with loss, bafflement, and possibility." --Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, The Open Notebook "Hirshfield's ability to distill a single image with vodka clarity is on full display in her ninth collection . . . Whatever exquisite form these poems take, they carry a haiku spirit." --Stephanie Pruitt-Gaines, BookPage "Hirshfield tackles some of the biggest questions we face as living beings . . . Her poetry and essays move between scales vast and miniscule, balancing awe and mundanity, the out of the ordinary and the everyday." --Marie Scarles, Tricycle "Masterful . . . Hirshfield urges a reckoning of human influence on--and interference with--the planet . . . [Her] world is one filled with beauty, from the 'generosity' of grass to humanity's connection to the muskrat. This is both a paean and a heartbreaking plea." --Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Zen poetry for a bleak era . . . An exploration of the capacity for life, its value and purpose . . . Hirshfield's hand is deft . . . We look very closely at an object or statement before lifting it to discover what else it can tell us about ourselves; a light shined outward, then the camera angle shifts and the light is back on us . . . Hirshfield's collection does exactly what we expect, and a little more--more of the personal, more of the contemporary world and its problems, more transcendence through art." --Genevieve Walker, San Francisco Chronicle
"Jane Hirshfield's poems often feel like whole landscapes, graciously embracing the widest view and the tiniest sequins at once . . . Her longtime practice of Soto Zen Buddhism and her commitments to scientific knowledge and respect blend to create some of the most important poetry in the world today." --Naomi Shihab Nye, The New York Times Magazine
"[Hirshfield] understands the world in all its happiness, melancholy, unpleasant surprise and moments of resilience." --Amy Bloom, The New York Times