Hirshfield ’73 Explores How Great Poetry Is Made

Jane Hirshfield ’73

Jane Hirshfield ’73

“A mysterious quickening inhabits the depths of any good poem — protean, elusive, alive in its own right,” Jane Hirshfield ’73 writes in the opening of her essay collection Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World. But what factors make a poem move its readers? In her essays, Hirshfield answers these questions by walking readers through a series of classic poems. Of Seamus Heaney’s Oysters, for example, Hirschfield writes, “We stand in this poem with a master of shaking things together — the personal with the historical, the local with the large .… Part of this poem’s specific gravity is its confident leaving out of the inessential.”

A member of the first undergraduate class to admit women as freshmen, Hirschfield is herself a poet, renowned for her spare language and spiritually infused verse. As a companion to Ten Windows, she released a collection of poetry, The Beauty, which explores the physical body interacting with the sensory world. In the poem Like Two Negative Numbers Multiplied by Rain, she begins:

Lie down, you are horizontal.
Stand up, you are not.

I wanted my fate to be human.

Like a perfume
that does not choose the direction it travels,
that cannot be straight or crooked, kept out or kept.

9780385351058Of her poetry, The Washington Post wrote, “Very quietly, Jane Hirshfield has been producing work that is earning her a place in the pantheon of those modern masters of simplicity.” This is Hirshfield’s third essay collection and her eighth collection of poetry. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tiger of the Week: Writer, Editor Landon Y. Jones ’66

Landon Jones ’66 (Courtesy Landon Jones)

Landon Jones ’66 (Courtesy Landon Jones)

While the diploma of Landon Jones ’66 may say that he graduated from Princeton with a degree in English, the St. Louis, Mo. native who claims to have actually “majored in The Daily Princetonian.” His dedication to journalism eventually led to a career at Time, Inc., which honored Jones last week with the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award at the company’s annual Luce Awards.

On one assignment for The Prince, Jones had the opportunity to interview Malcolm X in the Firestone Library. Despite the activist’s fiery reputation, Jones found Malcolm X to be thoughtful and good-natured. “It was a lesson to me that sometimes what you expect is not what you get, and as a journalist you need to keep your eyes open to that,” he said.

After a brief stint at Life, Jones returned to Princeton to serve as the editor of the Princeton Alumni Weekly from 1969-75. From writing articles to working on the layout to proofreading, Jones performed any and all roles at the magazine. Rather than just continue with business as usual, however, he applied his experience as a student journalist to more accurately capture the politicized environment of the campus.

“I took it from a fairly conservative [magazine] to reflect the way the campus was changing, from Vietnam, to female empowerment, to sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll,” he said.

After his work with PAW, Jones wrote for Time and People before becoming the editor of Money magazine from 1984-89, and, later, serving as the editor of People from 1989-97. Continue reading

An Enigma of a Tour: Princeton Through the Lens of Student Protests

activism walking tourOn April 10, a guided walking tour led by PUPSA (Princeton University Public Space Authority) left Princeton’s School of Architecture. A poster advertising the tour promised it would “explore public spaces as they existed at Princeton in the 1960s and 1970s and investigate how students and activists tried to manifest, address, improve, and protest urban and other crises both at Princeton and in the broader regional and national communities.”

My tour guide was Nico Krell ’18, a student in Aaron Landsman’s Creating Collaborative Theater class. He began the tour by insisting that the PUPSA, an organization that has apparently been a part of the University since just after the Civil War, is not pronounced “puh-psa” but “poo-psa.” It is “an analogue archive” that relies on other peoples’ memories, Krell said. The tour would focus how common spaces have changed — and have changed activism. Krell, reading from a script I would later learn was written by Landsman, led the group to McCosh Courtyard.

Krell spoke about a powerful moment in 1970 when the student body stayed out of class to protest the war in Vietnam. Pointing to Dickinson Hall, Krell said that this is where the students demanded that the University divest from the war. Krell offered reflections on the changing nature of gathering and, more specifically, activism. Compare this to Black Lives Matter, which brought 500 people out to protest, Krell said. “But maybe if activism is here,” pointing to his phone, “and a hundred thousand people see the video of those 500, maybe that’s OK,” he said. Continue reading

Men’s Lacrosse Clinches Share of Ivy League Title

Kip Orban ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Kip Orban ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Mike MacDonald ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Mike MacDonald ’15 (Office of Athletic Communications)

With the top spot still up for grabs in the last week of regular season play, Princeton men’s lacrosse is sure to be extending its season into the Ivy League tournament. After defeating Harvard 12-11 on Friday night, and with a little help from Brown, who beat Cornell on Saturday, the Tigers are guaranteed at least a share of the Ivy title for the first time since the 2012 season — and the 27th time in program history.

The Tigers will face Cornell in the final weekend of regular season play, needing a win to clinch the outright title and home-field advantage throughout the tournament. Yet, with Yale at Harvard and Brown at Dartmouth, the playoff picture is still very much anyone’s for the taking. A Princeton loss and a Brown win would give Brown home field advantage and make the two co-champions. In fact, with Brown, Yale, and Cornell all only a game behind the Tigers, a four-way tie for the championship is still possible.

Seniors Mike MacDonald and Kip Orban continued to make their marks in the Princeton record books against Harvard Friday night while leading their team to victory. Continue reading

A Young Doctor Writes a Novel About Love and Medicine

Kathleen Coggshall ’05

Kathleen Coggshall ’05

At the end of medical school, Kathleen Coggshall ’05 often found herself in the sky, flying across the country for interviews for residency programs. During several trips, as her mind drifted to thoughts of airlines disasters, she was struck with an idea for a novel about a plane crash and a young woman whose medical expertise keeps the survivors alive.

In Girl Underwater, Coggshall’s debut novel, competitive college swimmer Avery and two of her teammates are on a red-eye flight from California to Boston when the plane crashes in a remote area of the Rocky Mountains. Only Avery, fellow swimmer Colin Shea, and three little boys survive, and the medical knowledge imparted to Avery by her physician father helps her care for them for five days until they are rescued. The book follows Avery’s fraught recovery at home and the crash’s aftermath. The novel was published under the pen name Claire Kells. Continue reading

Names in the News: Wage ’12 on Altruism, Crossword Champ Feyer ’99, and More

MATT WAGE ’12 was featured in Nicholas Kristof’s opinion column in The New York Times as the titular “Trader Who Donates Half His Pay.” Wage, who was a philosophy major at Princeton and a student of moral philosopher Peter Singer, is now an arbitrage trader who donates half his income to charity. Wage’s efforts are an example of “effective altruism,” a movement championed by Singer that encourages people to consider all the ways they can make a positive difference and choose the one with maximum impact.

Emeritus professor TONI MORRISON is the subject of a New York Times Magazine profile that starts in the century-old barn that is now the studio where Morrison recorded the audiobooks for her latest novel, God Help the Child, and delves into her life and vision as an editor and writer.

At the 38th annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, DAN FEYER ’99 took first place after beating his opponent and fellow crossword champion Tyler Hinman by a half-second. Both Feyer and Hinman had previously won five consecutive titles at the tournament, which was founded in 1978 by New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz.  Continue reading