“The road is made by walking,” wrote the Spanish poet Antonio Machado. Poetry is a path to conjure, transform, evoke, counter, unravel, expose, and surprise our relationship to our own lives and the lives of others. Mystery, generosity, observation, and invention are part of any genuinely creative act. So too is the ability to make of ourselves a passageway and conduit to the large and the shared, the intimate and the private, the joyous, the grievous, the unexpected. The energies of poem-making, like the energies of existence itself, are transforming and undomesticable forces. Yet they can be invited, offered welcome. The cultivation of an open and permeable attention in many directions will be at the heart of this gathering. Participants will have the opportunity to undertake new writing of their own and to contemplate the poems of others in silence and in conversation. Participants are asked to bring writing materials and three poems (not their own and not over one page in length) that they particularly admire.
Jane Hirshfield, in poems described by The Washington Post as belonging “among the modern masters” and in The New York Times Magazine as “among the most important poetry in the world today,” addresses the urgent immediacies of our time. Her poems and essays traverse the crises of the biosphere, questions of social justice, and the myriad interior quandaries of heart, mind, and spirit. Her work lives at the intersection of facts and imagination, desire and loss, impermanence and beauty— all the dimensions of our shared existence within what one poem calls “the pure democracy of being.” Her ten poetry books include the newly published The Asking: New & Selected Poems (September 2023). We at Santa Sabina are privileged to have Jane with us again.