When I was getting an MFA in poetry, one of my professors admonished us to take on more complex subject matter. One doesn’t write about moons and hearts,” he said. But in her 1997 interview with The Atlantic, Jane Hirshfield offered some counter-wisdom. It’s an interview I have reread many times, and it seems to me that Valentine’s Day is a good day to share it with you.
Here’s an excerpt; for the full article, click on the link above.
It’s also true that for some years a central task in my life has been to try to affirm the difficult parts of my experience; that attempt is what many of the heart poems address. It’s easy to say yes to being happy, but it’s harder to agree to grief and loss and transience and to the fact that desire is fathomless and ultimately unfillable. At some point I realized that you don’t get a full human life if you try to cut off one end of it, that you need to agree to the entire experience, to the full spectrum of what happens.