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Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, Essays Paperback – August 26, 1998
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
Rich, eloquent, heady, beautiful, Hirshfield attempts to explore what I assumed to be an unexplorable realm, the heart and essence of this muse. Each essay is not only brilliant, but manages to autopsy several regions that poetry encompasses in a respectful and honest way. Her first essay, "Poetry and the Mind of Concentration", is a tour de force in and of itself, the rest of the book follows suit. She uses some of the finest poetry at her disposal to bring credence to her commentary.
For a poetry writer, for a poetry lover, if you read Jane Hirshfield's book, "Nine Gates", you'll leave it forever changed in the way you approach the gift of poetry.
Ms. Hirshfield uses literary and religious allusion freely, but this is no glib new age-ish miracle cure about the artist's "mystic journey". Instead, she uses the symbols of faith and skepticism as a rich metaphoric base to try to explore the goal and inner working of the effort to write a poem.
This work does not pretend to be some Quran of poetics, complete unto itself or changeless. Instead, the author surveys her task like a visitor to the crater of diamonds park, hunting for something shining among the crystal.
What I like about this book is that for all its rich allusion and reflections on symbolism, it's an accesible, affirming and non-saccharine take on why we are poets, and what it means to us.
My only quibble with her work is that the influence of eastern thought on the western American poets comes through much more clearly than the effect of the American experience on these same poets.In the poetry I read, Sandburg, Millay, and Forche spring from very different places with radically different voices, and yet each has an "American" tone that is unmistakable. It's not a matter of "nationalism" per se, but a matter of history and the lasting impression of the American experience. It's not a fault of the book at all, but a perspective I missed.
I think this is a great book to own for anyone who has pondered the "big questions" of poetry--what does it mean? why do I write?
In the abstract, an essay on poetic philosophy sounds filled with dull pretension. This book is anything but dull.
This past year when both grandmothers passed away, the soft voice of poetic comparison helped ease the heart.
In my small opinion, this is an inspired and gentle voice to turn to and read. And also reread.
I hope you also enjoy this reading experience.
her elegant but fairly dense prose, the more I found it fascinating, (including (of all things) certain esoteric aspects of Japanese language and poetry as well as translation.
I have begun reading NINE GATES for a second time, and I suspect not for the last. Although scholarly, the book is also moving, touching and definitely inspiring for any artist, poet or not.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not what I expected. I was looking forward to learning more about spiritual roots of writing-some mysteries that she may have stumbled upon but it was more of a style of a formal... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kofi
Jane Hirshfield is not just one of the finest poets writing today, she is also one of the best writers about the craft and art of poetry and its place in our contemporary world. Read morePublished 10 months ago by David Anthony Sam
Beautiful thoughtful essays by one of our best poets today. Students of poetry, literature, Buddhism and Eastern teachings will love this book. I look forward to re-reading.Published 14 months ago by CHB
Great GREAT book. A bit on the intellectual side, as poetry handbooks go, but we like that here at our home.Published 19 months ago by Ebuhwho?
Inspirational as well as academic and a joy to read and study.Published 21 months ago by F. E. Stewart
Jane Hirshfield's Nine Gates is infused with Buddhist sensibilities. This is less instruction on how to write poetry, than how to live in the world. Read morePublished on June 17, 2014 by Colette
Jane Hirshfield is one of our great poets. I knew her in the 1970's when she was working on her craft and have enjoyed discovering her work these many years later. Read morePublished on January 5, 2014 by Laurie Gold