New York, November 15, 2004 -- The Academy of American Poets and the Academy's Board of Chancellors are pleased to announce that Jane Hirshfield is the recipient of the 70th Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement. The Fellowship, which is given in memory of poet James Ingram Merrill, carries a stipend of $25,000.

Of Jane Hirshfield's work, Academy Chancellor Rosanna Warren writes:

It is an honor for the Academy to recognize Jane Hirshfield's achievement. In five books of poems, most recently Given Sugar, Given Salt in 2001, Hirshfield has elaborated a sensuously philosophical art that imposes a pause in our fast-forward habits of mind. Her poems appear simple, and are not. Her language, in its cleanliness and transparency, poses riddles of a quietly metaphysical nature.... Clause by clause, image by image, in language at once mysterious and commonplace, Hirshfield's poems clear a space for reflection and change. They invite ethical awareness, and establish a delicate balance.

Jane Hirshfield was born in New York City in 1953. After receiving her B.A. from Princeton University in their first graduating class to include women, she went on to study at the San Francisco Zen Center. Her books of poetry include Given Sugar, Given Salt (HarperCollins, 2001) which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Lives of the Heart (1997), The October Palace (1994), Of Gravity & Angels (1988), and Alaya (1982). She is the author of Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry (1997) and has also edited and translated The Ink Dark Moon: Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan (1990) with Mariko Aratani and Women in Praise of the Sacred: Forty-Three Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women (1994). Her honors include The Poetry Center Book Award, fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, Columbia University's Translation Center Award, the Commonwealth Club of California Poetry Medal, and the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award. In addition to her work as a freelance writer and translator, Hirshfield has taught at UC Berkeley, University of San Francisco, and been Elliston Visiting Poet at the University of Cincinnati. She is currently on the faculty of the Bennington MFA Writing Seminars.

The Fellowship of The Academy of American Poets has the distinction of being the first award of its kind in the United States. Former fellows include E. E. Cummings, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore, Robert Hayden, and more recently Gwendolyn Brooks, Lyn Hejinian, Adrienne Rich, Denise Levertov, Ellen Bryant Voigt, Jay Wright, and Charles Simic. Fellows are nominated and elected by the Academy's Board of Chancellors, a body of fourteen eminent poets. The current Chancellors are Frank Bidart, Lucille Clifton, Louise Glück, Robert Hass, Susan Howe, Galway Kinnell, Yusef Komunyakaa, Philip Levine, Nathaniel Mackey, Heather McHugh, Gary Snyder, James Tate, Ellen Bryant Voigt, and Rosanna Warren.

The Academy of American Poets was founded in 1934 to support American poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry. Through its awards program, the Academy awards well over $200,000 each year to individual poets. These awards include the Academy Fellowship, the Wallace Stevens Award, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, the James Laughlin Award, the Walt Whitman Award, the Raiziss/de Palchi Translation Award, the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award, student poetry prizes at nearly 200 colleges and universities, and the American Poets Fund.

The Academy also administers National Poetry Month (April), established by the Academy in 1996 and now the largest literary celebration in the world; the Online Poetry Classroom, an online resource providing free poetry lesson plans and other teaching tools for high school teachers; the Poetry Audio Archive, a collection of nearly 500 recordings dating back to the 1960s; and, our award-winning website.

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