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Gary Snyder writes that Jane Hirshfield's essays have "a diamond-hard set of insights to share" about the nature of poetry. Hirshfield approaches poetry from a number of angles and discusses a wide-ranging body of work, including ancient Egyptian love poets, Allen Ginsberg, W. B. Yeats, Emily Dickinson, Stevie Smith, and Li Po. Hirshfield is also a fine poet, and this skill tempers her insights with humility: she knows she is attempting to explain the inexplicable, so she doesn't try to disentangle the mystery. Especially recommended is the engaging "Poetry and the Mind of Indirection." [via]