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The Penguin Book of Zen Poetry

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This superb anthology, the largest and most comprehensive of its kind to appear in English, is the work of an American poet and a Japanese scholar.


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This superb anthology, the largest and most comprehensive of its kind to appear in English, is the work of an American poet and a Japanese scholar.

30 review for The Penguin Book of Zen Poetry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Florencia

    Taking hold, one’s astray in nothingness; Letting go, the Origin’s regained. Since the music stopped, no shadow’s touched My door: again the village moon’s above the river. —Kokai (1403-1469) This anthology consists of four parts: Chinese poems of enlightenment and death, Poems of the Japanese Zen masters, Japanese haiku and selected poetry by Shinkichi Takahashi. Translated by Lucien Stryk and Takashi Ikemoto, this collection - which spans 1500 years - is a must-read for anyone interested in the su Taking hold, one’s astray in nothingness; Letting go, the Origin’s regained. Since the music stopped, no shadow’s touched My door: again the village moon’s above the river. —Kokai (1403-1469) This anthology consists of four parts: Chinese poems of enlightenment and death, Poems of the Japanese Zen masters, Japanese haiku and selected poetry by Shinkichi Takahashi. Translated by Lucien Stryk and Takashi Ikemoto, this collection - which spans 1500 years - is a must-read for anyone interested in the subject since, besides fine examples of Asian poetry and Zen art, it also includes a brilliant introduction explaining the relationship between literature and Zen, the mystifying product of Buddhism and Taoism, the reigning philosophy of poets and painters for some thousand years . Having read several ancient Chinese and Japanese poetry collections, I’ve been picturing a recluse life in the mountains as the pages turned. Poets’ casual and brief conversations with strangers on the road and their relationship with nature have been masterly portrayed. But also more ordinary things like facing bad weather. And then, slipping into a reverie caused by tedium, the brain starts to babble. A hut? I wouldn’t survive a snowstorm without a proper roof and heat. Food might be a problem also. Not being able to order a pizza? Barbaric. And exhausting. I’ll have to make amends with the idea of a (finally serious) vegetarian cuisine, making my own clothes and other things that leave me one step closer to "Hi, my name is Rain. I have my own kiln, and my dress is made out of wheat." What’s Zen? ‘Thought,’ say masters, ‘makes a fool.’ —Shinkichi Takahashi (1901-1987) I come up with unlikely scenarios while barely surviving a week without my phone. Not because I wanted to catch up with the world; work and studies kept looking for me and demanded an answer. Countless words per minute, dazzling images leaping out of the screen, ringtones, notifications for every field, life through a camera because memory is unreliable, skyscrapers interrupting the contemplation of the night. The time spent on a zafu seems insufficient to disconnect oneself from the noise, the concrete surroundings, the remains of the day. A certain breeding ground for the struggle between traditional duties and one unconventional breakout. Here none think of wealth or fame, All talk of right and wrong is quelled: In autumn I rake the leaf-banked stream, In spring attend the nightingale. —Daigu (1584-1669) And yet, that could be enough. April 6, 19 * Also on my blog ** Photo credit / CC *** Actual rating: 4.5 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tabish

    The collection contains poems and haiku by Chinese and Japanese Zen Masters, from the period as late as 11th century to modern times. Please read if interested in Budhdhist understanding of life and beyond.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alison S

    A wide-ranging collection of Chinese and Japanese poetry, including haiku, and more modern poems. Great collection if Zen is your bag, which it is mine.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Genevieve C

    Haiku, Haibun, Senreyu... These poems are like a razor, or the smell of fresh air, or water.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mati

    Hunted down and reread trough whole year. One of the best anthology of the zen poetry, which is available in English. The translation is tastefully done and selection is truly enlightening.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Thyseldown

  7. 4 out of 5

    Blaine

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chant

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nick

  10. 4 out of 5

    Keith Harvey

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michael Lloyd-Billington

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  14. 4 out of 5

    A literate chimp (called Diarmuid)

  15. 4 out of 5

    john martin

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jessie

  17. 4 out of 5

    Smile Writer

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bob Carlton

  19. 4 out of 5

    Doug Pohlner

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michael Smith

  21. 4 out of 5

    Eduardo

  22. 5 out of 5

    John

  23. 4 out of 5

    Paul H.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

  25. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne

  26. 5 out of 5

    Aron van der Beek

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nama'Dejigas

  28. 5 out of 5

    Christi

  29. 4 out of 5

    Steven Burleson

  30. 4 out of 5

    George

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