Monday, January 23, 2017

The Power of Art - Jane Hirshfield writes...


In the course of talking to photographer and friend Lynn Alleva Lilley about her upcoming book Tender Mint, Lynn mentioned her use of a poem by Jane Hirshfield. I was reminded that I have Hirshfield's wonderful book Ten Windows - How Great Poems Transform the World. Poetry and photography share many attributes, most notably their ability to say something quite profound and moving from something so simple.

Hirshfield writes: Why ask art into a life at all, if not to be transformed and enlarged by its presence and mysterious means? Some hunger for "more" is in us - more range, more depth, more feeling, more associative freedom, more beauty. More perplexity and more friction of interest. More prismatic grief and un-stunted delight, more longing, more darkness. More saturation and permeability in knowing our own existence as also the existence of others. More capacity to be astonished. Art adds to the sum of the lives we would have, were it possible to live without it. And by changing selves, one by one, art changes the outer world that selves create and share. 

Although Jane Hirshfield in Ten Windows Investigates the power of poetry to move and change us, her writing is also about how art, how photography works.

Jane Hirshfield's Ten Windows is a must in any artist's library. Here's a link to Amazon.

Jane Hirshfield is the author of eight books of poetry, including The Beauty; Come, Thief; After; and Given Sugar, Given Salt. She has edited and cotranslated four books presenting the work of poets from the past and is the author of two major collections of essays, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry and Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World. Her books have been finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award and England’s T. S. Eliot Prize; they have been named best books of the year by The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Amazon, and Financial Times; and they have won the California Book Award, the Poetry Center Book Award, and the Donald Hall–Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry. Hirshfield has received fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Academy of American Poets. Her poems appear in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Times Literary Supplement, Poetry, The New Republic, and eight editions of The Best American Poetry. A resident of Northern California since 1974, she is a current chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

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