Clarification by Ms Jane Hirshfield

The Buddhist Channel, Feb 26, 2006

I am impressed how quickly you found your way to reprinting the warm and thoughtful profile Paul Liberatore wrote about me and my work ["The Zen Poet
of Mill Valley
," 2/22/06].

I do very much want to clarify one small thing. While the profile says that I am not a political poet--and on the overt level, that is not an inappropriate description--I do in fact feel strongly that addressing the political is an essential part of poetry's work in this world, which is why there are always at least a few poems in each of my books that do that. Pablo Neruda once said, "What flour is for the making of bread, peace is for the making of poems."

I've taken a vow to make clear in each of my public readings my feelings about the suffering currently being caused by an administration I find incomprehensible in its callousness toward both consequence and means, and I hope that your readers can be made aware of this as well. While not an activist in a visible way, I hope that my work is part of the larger field of what is sometimes called Engaged Budhhism.

Poetry wants to contribute to a larger and subtler thoughtfulness, and to the dialogue of what kind of world we make for one another and all being.

Jane Hirshfield