by Jane Hirshfield


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An investigation into incarnation, transience, and our intimate connection with all existence, by one of the preeminent poets of her generation

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060779191
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/20/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 112
Sales rank: 665,279
Product dimensions: 8.94(w) x 10.84(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

The author of five previous poetry collections and a book of essays, Jane Hirshfield has been a finalist for both the National Book Critics Circle Award and England’s T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry, and she is the winner of the Poetry Center Book Award, the California Book Award, and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, the Los Angeles Times, and multiple volumes of The Best American Poetry and Pushcart Prize anthologies.

Read an Excerpt


By Jane Hirshfield

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Jane Hirshfield
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060779160

After Long Silence

Politeness fades,

a small anchovy gleam
leaving the upturned pot in the dish rack
after the moon has wandered out of the window.

One of the late freedoms, there in the dark.
The leftover soup put away as well.

Distinctions matter. Whether a goat's
quiet face should be called noble
or indifferent. The difference between a right rigor and pride.

The untranslatable thought must be the most precise.

Yet words are not the end of thought, they are where it begins.


Excerpted from After by Jane Hirshfield Copyright © 2006 by Jane Hirshfield. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

After Long Silence     1
Pyracantha and Plum     2
Flowering Vetch     3
Theology     4
Hope: An Assay     6
To Judgment: An Assay     7
Those Who Cannot Act     9
Sheep's Cheese     10
Beneath the Snow, the Badger's Steady Breathing     11
Sky: An Assay     12
Pocket of Fog     13
Articulation: An Assay     14
Translucence: An Assay     15
What Is Usual Is Not What Is Always     16
The Mountain     17
Tears: An Assay     18
Poe: An Assay     19
The Refusal     21
Dog and Bear     22
Downed Branch     23
Vilnius     24
"Of": An Assay     25
"To": An Assay     26
"And": An Assay     28
Study of Melon & Insect     29
A Man Walks Through His Life     30
A Day Comes     31
The Double     32
Not Only Parallel Lines Extend to the Infinite     34
I Imagine Myself in Time     35
The Meeting     36
Wanting More and More to Live Unobserved,Unobserving     37
The Destination     38
Late Self-Portrait by Rembrandt     39
Ryoanji: An Assay     40
To Opinion     41
The Woodpecker Keeps Returning     43
"It is night. It is very dark."     44
Bonsai     45
The Promise     46
The Heat of Autumn     47
To Wake at 3:00     48
Dog Still Barking at Midnight     49
Two Washings     50
Termites: An Assay     51
Envy: An Assay     52
Hesitation: An Assay     53
Once: An Assay     54
Burlap Sack     56
The Monk Stood Beside a Wheelbarrow     57
I Write These Words to Delay     58
Seventeen Pebbles     59
To Spareness     65
"Ah!": An Assay     67
Against Certainty     68
Jasper, Feldspar, Quartzite     69
Instant Glimpsable Only for an Instant     70
One Sand Grain Among the Others in Winter Wind     71
To Speech     72
Possibility: An Assay     76
Bad Year     77
Serrano Pepper     78
This Much Is Promised     79
In a Room with Five People, Six Griefs     80
Ask Much, the Voice Suggested     81
To Gravel: An Assay     82
Each Morning My Neighbor Walks Out     83
Between the Material World and the World of Feeling     84
Red Scarf     85
The Bell Zygmunt     86
Letter to C     87
The Dead Do Not Want Us Dead     91
It Was Like This: You Were Happy     92
Acknowledgments     95

What People are Saying About This

Donna Seaman

“...finely measured and carefully weighted poems...stirring new collection.”

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After: Poems 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
ShawnSorensen43 More than 1 year ago
Few poetry titles are as companionable as this one. When I need to write, to journal, to have an important talk with someone or to relax on my own, it's always good to have Hirshfield around. These are poems as spare in their style as they are capacious in meaning and compassion. A theme Hirshfield particularly does well - and which buttresses her mindful, meditative aura - is that all of us are doing the best we can, yet can always take a step back, look at ourselves, and do better. If it happens, it happens. It's better to listen to your crazy friend than try to change him/her, for example. If they change, it's from their own words leading to their own actions, an empowering trajectory. And that crazy person might be you. Meanwhile, impermanence and suffering are always with us. From the short poem "The Dead Do Not Want Us Dead": The dead do not want us dead; such petty errors are left for the living. Nor do they want our mourning. No gift to them - not rage, not weeping. Return one of them, any one of them, to the earth, and look: such foolish skipping, such telling of bad jokes, such feasting! Even a cucumber, even a single anise seed: feasting. The ending of the poem speaks volumes about Hirshfield's style - the vast potential of a cucumber to do big and small things, to symbolize so much in our minds. What slightly detracts from Hirshfield's work is its sameness. There isn't quite a large enough venue of details or variety of styles, so the overall quality of the work can feel a little too didactic. And it doesn't help that she uses the same metaphors of many other poets - the stream, the mountain, the horse. Too many metaphors takes away the vivacity that is day-to-day living. I will keep Hirshfield on my NOOK and read it whenever I don't have a good acquaintance around. These simple lines draw you in, connect all of us through our timeless concerns and reveal something different every reading.