Jane Hirshfield, "The Asking: New and Selected Poems" (Knopf, 2023)


When poet Jane Hirshfield first arrived at Tassajara Monastery nearly fifty years ago, a Zen teacher told her that it was a good idea to have a question to practice with. She’s been asking questions ever since. Both in her Zen practice and in her poetry, Hirshfield is guided by questions that resist easy answers, allowing herself to be transformed through the process of asking and paying attention. With her latest poetry collection, The Asking: New and Selected Poems (Knopf, 2023), she takes up the question, “How can I be of service?,” inviting readers to resist fixity and certainty and instead to dwell in not-knowing.

In this episode of Tricycle Talks, Tricycle’s editor-in-chief, James Shaheen, sits down with Hirshfield to talk about the questions she’s been asking recently, why she views poetry as an antidote to despair, and how Zen rituals have informed her creative process. Plus, she reads a few poems from her new collection.

Tricycle Talks is a monthly podcast featuring prominent voices from within and beyond the Buddhist fold. Listen to more episodes here.

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Tricycle: The Buddhist Review provides a unique and independent public forum for exploring Buddhism, establishing a dialogue between Buddhism and the broader culture, and introducing Buddhist thinking to Western disciplines. This approach has enabled Tricycle to successfully attract readers from all walks of life, many of whom desire to enrich their lives through a deeper knowledge of Buddhist traditions.

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