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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014

Celebration of National Poetry Month
Jane Hirshfield

Saturday, April 8, 7:30 p.m.

Jane Hirshfield In our third annual celebration of National Poetry Month, Coast Community Library and Gualala Arts this year are proud to present Jane Hirshfield reading from her new book, After: Poems, Saturday, April 8, at 7:30 pm in Coleman Auditorium. Hirshfield, one of the rising stars in American poetry, is the author of five previous books of poems; two volumes of translations; an already classic collection of essays, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry; and the editor of the seminal anthology Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women.

"Poetry's work," writes Hirshfield, "is the clarification and magnification of being. Each time we enter its word-woven and musical invocation, we give ourselves over to a different mode of knowing: to poetry's knowing, and to the increase in existence it brings, unlike any other." Her own poems exemplify this transformative, life-expanding power.

By focusing her (and her reader's) attention on the seemingly routine aspects of everyday experience - say, sipping one's morning coffee and looking out the window, contemplating a landscape or the kitchen utensils, or reflecting on the suffering of those we may have heard about in the news - Hirshfield opens broad vistas of emotional and spiritual awareness.

Born in New York City in 1953, educated at Princeton where she received highest honors, Hirshfield at the age of 21 entered a Zen Buddhist monastery in California where she spent the next three years. Since the 1980s she has lived in Marin County and traveled widely giving readings, lectures and workshops, one of the few prominent American poets who has managed to make a career outside academia. Her warmth, compassion and sensitivity, in addition to her gift of language and finely tuned musical ear, have made her one of the most popular and highly praised writers of her generation.

In addition to her many honors and awards - including NEA, Guggenheim and Rockefeller fellowships; publication in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Nation, The New Republic and other national magazines; her selection for Best American Poetry and Pushcart Prize anthologies - she has received the admiring accolades of Nobel laureates Czeslaw Milosz and Wislawa Szymborska, and of such American masters as W. S. Merwin, Denise Levertov, Robert Bly and Gary Snyder.

Jane Hirshfield's visit is made possible by co-sponsorship of Friends of Coast Community Library, with the support of grants from The Sea Ranch Foundation, Poets & Writers Inc. and the James Irvine Foundation, with additional contributions by many generous individuals in our coastal communities. The event is free, with donations accepted to help defray costs. Anyone who attended last year's unforgettable reading by Philip Levine won't want to miss this special evening of poetry at its best.

Gualala Arts Center is located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, and is open from 9 am to 4 pm weekdays, and weekends from noon to 4 p.m. Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information.