Every year there is a Kauai Writers Conference. One of the featured authors was poet Jane Hirshfield, known also for her passion for history, environmentalism and science. We were invited to an opportunity to hear her read from a selection of her works, and hear her thoughts on poetry and the creative spirit.
We found her 2015 book “The Beauty” to be an excellent encapsulation of her range, style and voice.
One of the points she made during her presentation at the conference was the notion that poetry, unlike any other form of written work, has to be precise in the words chosen. It was an interesting thought, and in this manner, poetry then can be likened to a painted work of art — except the medium is not oil, acrylic or watercolor. It is a painting made by the careful selection and placement of our written language and the colors of our imaginations and experiences.
Hirshfield’s “The Beauty” is a testament to this process, and she adeptly approaches a wide range of subjects: the nature of our reality, our daily lives, and worlds both unseen and seen, from the smallest quark to the widest horizons we can imagine.
In her book, Hirshfield strives to find the beauty in every moment of life — be it good, bad, challenging, inspiring or bordering on those unknown reaches our minds constantly yearn for.
Ed and Yuriko Justus operate Talk Story Bookstore in Hanapepe.