"Poetry's work is the clarification and magnification of being," writes Jane Hirshfield in this paperback. The author of four collections of poetry has an exquisite mind that savors meaning, music, imagination, and "the irresistible seduction of being." Hirshfield's spiritual perspective infuses these nine essays with a special seriousness and a universal wisdom. She demonstrates a keen understanding of Zen and a deep appreciation for Japanese poetry.

One of the main motifs that shines through several essays is Hirshfield's reverence for the poet who "weaves a world" out of his or her ability "to attend unswervingly." Or as she puts it, "Poems show that a single moment's perception is more than enough to hold a world." A translator herself, she celebrates this work as an erotic experience whereby one "passes on the new love to others." She reveals how poets make use of memory, shadow, and indirection in their crafting of something rare and precious. Nine Gates will take you to places you've never been before and you'll return home with a heart filled with wonder.