Resource Pack for:‘Page’, by Jane Hirshfield


Created by Mark Edgecumbe


Jane Hirshfield (born 1953) is an American poet and Buddhist who spent eight years studying at the San Francisco Zen Centre. She believed that in order to be a good poet, it was first necessary to be a good human being, once saying,“I don’t think poetry is based just on poetry; it is based on a thoroughly lived life.” In recent years, her poetry has focused on science and the environmental crisis we are faced with. She believes that writing poetry is about making discoveries, rather than articulating what you already know: “If you know something, you don’t need a poem.”

When Donald Trump was elected president of the United States in November 2016, Hirshfield made a commitment: she would complete one “political action” each day. This was in response to what she saw as the morally catastrophic effect of Trump on American life, and the way that Trump’s public utterances legitimise (give permission to) behaviours not previously acceptable in American life. Her poem ‘Page’ makes reference to multiple examples of morally catastrophic behaviour by human beings.

‘Page’ can be read and listened to here:

For a more comprehensive summary of Hirshfield’s life and achievements, you can read about her here: