Jane Hirshfield


Jane Hirshfield, in poems described by The Washington Post as belonging “among the modern masters” and by The New York Times as “passionate and radiant,” addresses the urgent immediacies of our time.  Her nine poetry books include  Ledger (March, 2020), The Beauty, long-listed for the 2015 National Book Award; Given Sugar, Given Salt, a finalist for the 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award; and After, short-listed for England’s T.S. Eliot Award and named a “best book of 2006” by The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, and England’s Financial Times. Hirshfield’s other honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Academy of American Poets; Columbia University’s Translation Center Award; The Poetry Center Book Award,  The California Book Award, the Northern California Book Reviewers Award, and the Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry. Her work appears in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Review of Books, Poetry, and ten editions of The Best American Poetry. In 2004, Jane Hirshfield was awarded the 70th Academy Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement by The Academy of American Poets. In 2012, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. In 2017, in conjunction with reading to an estimated 50,000 people on the Washington Mall at the first March For Science, she co-founded Poets For Science, housed with the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University. In 2019, she was elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Hirshfield has taught at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Bennington College, and elsewhere. Source

The Promise

Stay, I said 

to the cut flowers. 

They bowed 

their heads lower.


Stay, I said to the spider, 

who fled.


Stay, leaf. 

It reddened, 

embarrassed for me and itself.


Stay, I said to my body. 

It sat as a dog does, 

obedient for a moment, 

soon starting to tremble.


Stay, to the earth 

of riverine valley meadows, 

of fossiled escarpments, 

of limestone and sandstone. 

It looked back 

with a changing expression, in silence.


Stay, I said to my loves. 

Each answered, 






Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Love & Relationships


Literary Devices:


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences


conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie


the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing


a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”