Friday, May 8, 2009

Poetry Friday: A Poet by Jane Hirshfield

I think of this one as a writer's blessing . . .

A Poet
by Jane Hirshfield

She is working now, in a room
not unlike this one,
the one where I write, or you read.
Her table is covered with paper.
The light of the lamp would be
tempered by a shade, where the bulb's
single harshness might dissolve,
but it is not; she has taken it off.
Her poems? I will never know them,
though they are the ones I most need.
Even the alphabet she writes in
Read the rest here

For more pictures of what working spaces look like, my book club friend, Anamaria Anderson, pointed me to this wonderful project: Studio Confidante. It's described as "the little objects which keep people company as they work. The things which silently watch the frustrations and triumphs. Those items which sometimes function as a talisman or charm. What we keep close to us. What inspires us."

Edited to add: in the comments, Julie Larios alerted me to this glimpse from The Guardian into writers' workspaces:  Writers' rooms 

Poetry Friday is hosted by Anastasia Suen at


  1. Perfect poem for all your office pictures! Loved seeing where all your magic writing takes place :).

  2. I love the detail about the shade being taken off the lamp.

  3. Ah, enough paper to make mistakes. (Is there enough in the world?)and GO ON, which is the most important bit. Lovely.

  4. I love this poem. We have a local TV series called "The Writing Life." Michael Collier interviewed Hirshfield and she spoke about composing this poem as a way out of writers block!

  5. Oh, there is something so lush and voyeouristic about getting to step into other people's spaces like this...

  6. I love seeing your photos of the things around you as you write. so sweet and tender of you to share them with us!

    These are my favorite lines, that bring tears to my eyes:

    Let the door
    be closed, the sleeping ones healthy.
    Let her have time, and silence,
    enough paper to make mistakes and go on.

  7. I love Hirschfield, and I love this poem. Thanks.

  8. I too love the line about time and silence and mistakes.

    You post made me look at my desk...Now I can call the stuff inspiration instead of clutter.

  9. Thanks so much for posting this one today. I'm ready to get back to work now.

  10. I love Hirshfield's work. I only own one collection though. Thanks for posting this and reminding me how much I enjoy reading her. Maybe one day soon, I'll pick up one of her new collections.

    Good to see someone's else creative mess.

  11. I love the bit at the end about mistakes and going on. Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. Thanks for the link to Studio Confidante, Sara. Here is another link you might like, too:
    Look for the kids book writers: Russell Hoban, Michael Rosen, Roald Dahl, Raymond Briggs...though I think Will Self is the one most committed to evocative objects!

  13. I agree with Yat-Yee--glad to call my little tokens and totems "inspiration" instead of CLUTTER!

  14. Thanks for the link, Julie. I've pulled it up into the main post so more people might find it. I could poke around there for days!

    And thank you all, for loving clutter! :)

  15. Let her have time, and silence,
    enough paper to make mistakes and go on.
    Amen, and amen.

  16. Enough paper (and thank goodness for the gigabite space on computers) for mistakes. Love it!
    Great view into your working area!

  17. Thanks for sharing your space. I am late with comments but I loved this post.


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