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When poet Jane Hirshfield first arrived at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center nearly fifty years ago, a Zen teacher told her that it was a good idea to have a question to practice with. She’s been asking questions ever since. Both in her Zen practice and in her poetry, Hirshfield is guided by questions that resist easy answers, allowing herself to be transformed through the process of asking. With her latest poetry collection, The Asking: New and Selected Poems, she takes up the question, “How can I be of service?,” inviting readers to resist fixity and certainty and instead to dwell in not-knowing.

In this episode of Tricycle Talks, Tricycle’s editor-in-chief, James Shaheen, sits down with Hirshfield to talk about the questions she’s been asking recently, why she views poetry as an antidote to despair, and how Zen rituals have informed her creative process. Plus, she reads a few poems from her new collection.

Tricycle Talks is a podcast series featuring leading voices in the contemporary Buddhist world. You can listen to more Tricycle Talks on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and iHeartRadio.

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