ZenLit and SFZC Present Poets Jane Hirshfield & Naomi Shihab Nye, CC 5/27 - Sold out

Practice Center
Date / Time
May 27, 2024 / 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Event Type
Special Events & Exhibits

In Page Street Co-working, 297 Page Street (at Laguna) in SF

The ZenLit partnership between San Francisco Zen Center and LitCamp continues on Monday, May 27 (Memorial Day) with a very special conversation between poets Jane Hirshfield and Naomi Shihab Nye, moderated by SFZC Urban Temple Dharma Teacher, Ryushin Paul Haller.

Jane Hirshfield is an Award-winning poet, essayist, and the author of ten collections of poetry, including The Asking: New and Selected Poems (2023); Ledger (2020); The Beauty (2015), which was longlisted for the National Book Award; Come, Thief (2011), which was a finalist for the PEN USA Poetry Award; and Given Sugar, Given Salt (2001), a finalist for the National Book Critics Award. Hirshfield is also the author of two collections of essays, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry (1997) and Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World (2015). She has edited and co-translated four books collecting the work of world poets from the past: The Ink Dark Moon: Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan (1990); Women in Praise of the Sacred: Forty-Three Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women (1994); Mirabai: Ecstatic Poems (2004); and The Heart of Haiku (2011).

Shortly after graduating from Princeton as a member of the university’s first graduating class to include women, Hirshfield put aside her writing for nearly eight years to study at San Francisco Zen Center. “I felt that I’d never make much of a poet if I didn’t know more than I knew at that time about what it means to be a human being,” Hirshfield once said. “I don’t think poetry is based just on poetry; it is based on a thoroughly lived life.”

Naomi Shihab Nye was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Her father was a Palestinian refugee and her mother was an American of German and Swiss descent, and Nye spent her adolescence in both Jerusalem and San Antonio, Texas. She is the author of Everything Comes Next, The Tiny Journalist, Fuel, Transfer, Voices in the Air, Sitti’s Secrets, Habibi, This Same Sky, and The Tree Is Older than You Are: Poems & Paintings from Mexico. Her volume 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East was a finalist for the National Book Award. She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards for her work, including the Ivan Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement from the National Book Critics Circle, the Lavan Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, the Carity Randall Prize, the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry award, the Robert Creeley Prize, and many Pushcart Prizes. She has received fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and she was a Witter Bynner Fellow. From 2010 to 2015 she served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. In 2018 she was awarded the Lon Tinkle Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Texas Institute of Letters. Nye was the Poetry Foundation's Young People's Poet Laureate from 2019-2022.

Nye’s experience of both cultural difference and different cultures has influenced much of her work. Known for poetry that lends a fresh perspective to ordinary events, people, and objects, Nye has said that, for her, “the primary source of poetry has always been local life, random characters met on the streets, our own ancestry sifting down to us through small essential daily tasks.” In her work, according to Jane Tanner in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, “Nye observes the business of living and the continuity among all the world’s inhabitants … She is international in scope and internal in focus.”

The moderator for this event will be former City Center Abiding Abbot, Paul Haller, who has a deep friendship with both Jane and Naomi. Join us for what will be an informative and lively conversation about writing at the intersection of Buddhism and literature.

Registration Information

Space is limited to 40 people.

  • General $45
  • SFZC Members and Page Street Members $40

Before registering, please review the Health and Safety Requirements.

This event is sold out.

Or call 415-354-0360.

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