I always feel a slight dismay if I’m called a “Zen” poet. I am not. I am a human poet, that’s all.” Poet Jane Hirshfield on the Mystery of Existence, Spirituality & Health Magazine, Mar./Apr. 2013 When I think of Jane Hirshfield, I think first of her kindness to my friend, Bay Area poet, Ann Emerson (poet #9 in this series), who died a few years back and who received compassionate and generous guidance… Read More

SCARLET LETTER In fifth grade my father’s secrets start to breed under my red confirmation dress— dig deep in the tunnel of my inner ear, cling to sentry hairs on the nape of my neck— his secrets: black bodies, glassy eyes, squeeze beneath my fingernails— quiet as eggs; they spin a red thread that cuts me inside out. Over Exposed, the memoir of Terri Muuss, is at once painful and triumphant. It is… Read More

 Crazy Brave (Norton & Company, 2012), Joy Harjo’s eminently engaging memoir, flows like a long prose poem. It is rich and well-built on a foundation of tribal mythologies, a strong sense of her ancestry, her difficult childhood and youth and salvation found in poetry and music. From her birth to a handsome much-loved fire-spirit father who inherited Indian oil money, allowing him to indulge a passion for cars, and her beautiful water-spirit singer-mother whose voice was stilled… Read More

I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited. Sylvia Plath, “The Unabridged Journals… Read More