The Poetry of Zen (Paperback)
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A wonderfully diverse collection of Zen poetry from China and Japan—including works by Lao Tzu and Han Shan—presented by two of America’s premier poet-translators
A Zen poem is nothing other than an expression of the enlightened mind, a handful of simple words that disappear beneath the moment of insight to which it bears witness. Poetry has been an essential aid to Zen Buddhist practice from the dawn of Zen—and Zen has also had a profound influence on the secular poetry of the countries in which it has flourished.
Here, two of America’s most renowned poets and translators provide an overview of Zen poetry from China and Japan in all its rich variety, from the earliest days to the twentieth century. Included are works by Lao Tzu, Han Shan, Li Po, Dogen Kigen, Saigyo, Basho, Chiao Jan, Yuan Mei, Ryokan, and many others. Hamill and Seaton provide illuminating introductions to the Chinese and Japanese sections that set the poets and their work in historical and philosophical context. Short biographies of the poets are also included.
About the Author
Sam Hamill has translated more than two dozen books from ancient Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Latin, and Estonian. He has published fourteen volumes of original poetry. He has been the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the Mellon Fund. He was awarded the Decoración de la Universidad de Carabobo in Venezuela, the Lifetime Achievement Award in Poetry from Washington Poets Association, and the PEN American Freedom to Write Award. He cofounded and served as Editor at Copper Canyon Press for thirty-two years and is the Director of Poets Against War.
J. P. Seaton is Professor of Chinese at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is the translator of numerous books, including The Poetry of Zen and The Shambhala Anthology of Chinese Poetry, and his poetry translations have been widely anthologized in such books as The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry, The Norton Anthology of World Poetry, and The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry.
“This is a book to enrich our life and our practice, a collection that encourages us to be mindful, to keep at it. Read it, and sit.”
“A major collection.”
“The poets in this superb collection pay attention to the wonders of the natural world, the signs of precariousness of life in all living beings, the little changes that comprise each day, and the small details that are often missed by those who are less observant.”
—Spirituality & Health
“These evocative poems capture the ephemera of nature with uncanny starkness.”
“There is no need to be mystical or religious to enjoy this writing.”
—The Bloomsbury Review