Given Sugar, Given SaltBook - 2001
An extraordinary new collection in which the widely acclaimed poet deepens and extends her explorations of essential human questions amid the changing and sensuous world.
"As water given sugar sweetens, give salt grows salty,/ we become our choices," writes Jane Hirshfield in Given Sugar, Given Salt, her fifth and most expansive volume of poems to date. In this luminous and authoritative new collection, Hirshfield presents an ever-deepening and altering comprehensive 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, and death; of the losses and gains both passionate connection and solitude; 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. Through the breadth and honed beauty of her contemplations, and in the deep usefulness readers ascribe to her work in their own lives. Hirshfield has found a place distinctively her own among American poets.