Given Sugar, Given Salt

Given Sugar, Given Salt

by Jane Hirshfield

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

In this luminous and authoritative new collection, Jane Hirshfield presents an ever-deepening and altering comprehension of human existence in poems utterly unique, as William Matthews once wrote of her work, in their "praise of ceaseless mutability as life's central splendor."

In poems complex in meaning yet clear in statement and depiction, Hirshfield explores questions of identity, aging, death, and of time and the variegated gifts brought by its relentless passage. Whether meditating upon a button, the role of habit in our lives, or the elusive nature of our relationship to sleep, Hirshfield brings each subject into a surprising and magnified existence.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060959012
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/02/2002
Series: Harper Perennial
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 96
Sales rank: 775,191
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.23(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

The Envoy

One day in that room, a small rat.
Two days later, a snake.

Who, seeing me enter,
whipped the long stripe of his
body under the bed,
then curled like a docile house-pet.

I don't know how either came or left.
Later, the flashlight found nothing.

For a year I watched
as something — terror? happiness? grief? —
entered and then left my body.

Not knowing how it came in,
Not knowing how it went out.

It hung where words could not reach it.
It slept where light could not go.
Its scent was neither snake nor rat,
neither sensualist nor ascetic.

There are openings in our lives
of which we know nothing.

Through them
the belled herds travel at will,
long-legged and thirsty, covered with foreign dust.

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