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Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women

4.33  ·  Rating Details  ·  270 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
"Hirshfield's current collection brings together . . . an astonishing array of women writers from the 22nd century BC poet Enheduanna to Nelly Sachs and Anna Akhmatova."--Library Journal
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 19th 1995 by Harper Perennial (first published 1994)
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Hope Struck
Oct 30, 2008 Hope Struck rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with a beating heart
Recommended to Hope by: i found it!
Shelves: poetry
i checked this out from the library.
next, i will buy it.
then, i will roll around on top of this book and rub it all over my face. i will shower in this book for the rest of my stinkin life. that's how much i love this book. fyi.
Dec 09, 2012 AnandaTashie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, poetry
A combination of spiritual poetry and history of the poets. Really expansive, beautiful, informative collection.

My favorites were:

p 21, Zi Ye
All night I could not sleep / because of the moonlight on my bed. / I kept on hearing a voice calling: / Out of Nowhere, Nothing answered "yes."

p 31, Gnostic Gospel - Nag Hammadi Library
I am the incomprehensible silence / and the memory that will not be forgotten. / I am the voice whose sound is everywhere / and the speech that appears in many forms. / I a
Nina Cooper
Mar 23, 2015 Nina Cooper rated it it was amazing
What I loved most about this book is that it is about women who experience spirituality and express it in their poetry. This is not a collection of Christian ideas, although they play an important role in it too. Instead, there are many poems from pre-Christian times, just as from other religions and eras. The common theme, according to the title, is the 'praise of the sacred'. I was not always sure about the meaning of 'sacred', and would have rather preferred 'spirituality', but this isjust a ...more
May 11, 2016 Kelsey rated it did not like it
I appreciate this book for its historical significance, but I'm not intellectual enough for poetry. So it is not the book that's bad, it is me who is a bad reader I suppose. It is also fair to say the women who wrote the poetry within the book are BA. It is a great book for history buffs, poetry lovers, and awesome feminist humans.
Tom Helmick
Dec 30, 2014 Tom Helmick rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Had I only been introduced to the poetry of Nelly Sachs, that would have been more than enough. She really touched me. As it was, I was also treated to 43 centuries of spiritual poetry written by women. This was an impressive and inspirited read.
Glenn Berger
Among many wonderful poems is this one by Pan Zhao (48-117?), the most famous woman scholar of Chinese history, on the slow, incremental process of restoring one's connection to our essential nature, on finding the lost heart.

Tempered, annealed, the hard essence of autumn metals
finely forged, subtle, yet perdurable and straight,

By nature penetrating deep yet advancing by inches
to span all things yet stitch them up together,

Only needle-and-thread's delicate footsteps
are truly broad-ranging yet wi
Melanie Rigney
Apr 15, 2016 Melanie Rigney rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality
Interesting collection of poetry from women of many different faith traditions and eras.
Jul 20, 2015 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book filled with gorgeous poetry and introduced me to one of my favorite poets: Hadewijch!
Ivan Granger
Jun 02, 2012 Ivan Granger rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites
This is the first anthology I got years ago that made me say, Wow! Includes Sappho, Rabia, Yeshe Tsogyel, Hildegard von Bingen, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Hadewijch of Antwerp, Lalla, Mirabai, Bibi Hayati, Marina Tsvetaeva. The best collection I’ve found of women’s voices in sacred poetry.
Jan 20, 2013 Jeffrey rated it it was amazing
Hirshfield offers a well-rounded sampling of women from numerous traditions and times - each of whom write with a sensibility toward God, the Beloved, or that which is sacred (even a boy who commits suicide). Her brief bios are enough to tempt you to read more.
J. Whitley
Jan 13, 2013 J. Whitley rated it it was amazing
This book is filled with women poets that are known and unknown through the ages. The book too me a long time to read because some of the poems so beautiful I had to stop reading to allow the poem to linger in my mind, simmer in my heart.
May FLower
Mar 15, 2010 May FLower rated it it was amazing
I really loved this. It collects women's poetry about the sacred aspect of life from a range of backgrounds, time periods and religious practices. Lots of good stuff and I found a bunch of women I want to read more about.
Apr 30, 2013 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aine MacAodha
Dec 29, 2013 Aine MacAodha rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book edited by Jane Hirshfield, a beauty to dip into again and again. '43 centuries of spiritual poetry by women'
Feb 04, 2012 Laura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
The biographies in this collection make it an outstanding resource. I wish it were the first in a series. I'd love to see more.
Shana Hormann
Mar 27, 2011 Shana Hormann rated it really liked it
Shelves: spiritual
This is a wonderful collection of women's voices from 2300 B.C.E. to the 1900s. Inspiration is on every page.
Feb 19, 2012 Kathleen rated it really liked it
Hirshfields's introduction each poets added immesurable to the understanding and appreciation of each entry.
Melissa McClintock
Jan 12, 2009 Melissa McClintock rated it it was amazing
Awesome compliation of female poets throughout the ages.
A fine anthology of sacred poems by women.
Aug 01, 2008 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
provides history as well as poems
Louise Chambers
Nov 23, 2008 Louise Chambers rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: poets and readers of poetry
Recommended to Louise by: Capitol Hill Used Books Denver
Shelves: poetry, women-studies
A favorite!
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Jane Hirshfield is the author of seven collections of poetry, including Come Thief (Knopf, August 23, 2011), After (HarperCollins, 2006), which was named a “Best Book of 2006” by The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, and England’s Financial Times and shortlisted for England’s T.S. Eliot Award; and Given Sugar, Given Salt (finalist for the 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award); as we ...more
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