Jane Hirshfield's, The Heart of Haiku, is given a well deserved mention in an article by Dwight Garner in today's New York Times on Kindle Singles. A Kindle Single* is a new form that has found its readers: longer than an essay and shorter than a book, the Single is something that can usually be read in one sitting and savored forever -- at least, that's the case in Hirshfield's work on the poet Basho and the form he is famous for, the Haiku.
*Kindle singles and e-books can be read on your computer; your smart phone; or other e-readers. You can download the free application software on Amazon.
Here's my recommendation from the Amazon site:
I first encountered Jane Hirshfield's poetry in The Atlantic; it was June of 1996 that I read "Three Foxes by the Edge of the Field at Twilight" on my computer and then heard her reading her poem on RealAudio -- the technology was new -- what a joy to hear a poem read by the poet in your own home! I was entranced, and thus began my journey. I found The Lives of the Heart: Poems and fell in love with her work. The true test of a poet's strength, for me, is if lines of their poetry come back to me unbidden -- I know, then, that the poetry has taken root. Hirshfield's poetry can make that claim. I have purchased several copies of Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry to hand out to friends; it is a book that I consider essential. We took turns reading poems from Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women at the bedside of a loved one; those poems, those ancient voices, provided vessels for our grief. I will always be grateful that they were so thoughtfully woven together and made available in this anthology.
The essay on Basho is a gift of thought about form. There is nothing to do but accept the gift and bow to the generosity. It is wonderful.
Hirshfield priced The Heart of Haiku at 99 cents -- a gift to the reader -- you owe it to yourself to buy one and send one to everyone you know.
Hirshfield's newest book of poems, Come, Thief is available at Amazon.
Two of her poems are in the current issue of the Harvard Divinity Bulletin: