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Poetry and Zen by R. H. Blyth
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Poetry and Zen

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Poetry and Zen by R. H. Blyth
Apr 05, 2022 | ISBN 9781611809985

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  • Apr 05, 2022 | ISBN 9781611809985

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  • Apr 05, 2022 | ISBN 9780834844223

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“R. H. Blyth is for me a hero of literature. His books altered the world I could know, both in poems and through them.”—Jane Hirshfield, author of Ledger and The Heart of Haiku

“In Poetry and Zen: Letters and Uncollected Writings of R. H. Blyth, we find many dimensions of this brilliant man: his almost obsessive love of music, his deep intellectual curiosity, his literary prejudices, and his deep humanity—just for starters. Many of us have found our lives changed by his many books on Japanese and Oriental culture, and this volume gives us a profound look into this complex and fascinating man’s interior. A must-read.”—William Scott Wilson, translator of Hagakure and The Book of Five Rings

“Blyth’s monumental work as a writer and translator, especially his four-volume translation Haiku, had an enormously transformative influence across the range of modern Zen and poetry and literary culture more broadly—from Gary Snyder and Robert Aitken to Octavio Paz and Roland Barthes. Here is a treasure-house of his more personal and concise writing, and it is full of jewels.”—David Hinton, author of Hunger Mountain and China Root

“In high school, R. H. Blyth’s four-volume Haiku was the first book on Japan I read. Together with his books on senryū and his translation/commentary on Mumonkan, I have continually reread them for inspiration and pleasure and relied on them as valuable references. I knew little about the man himself—nobody did in those days. Fortunately, Poetry and Zen finally fleshes out the life of this eccentric scholar. The book also provides the background for the remarkable internationalization of Zen in the second half of the twentieth century. On all fronts, Poetry and Zen is an enjoyable read.” —John Stevens, translator of The Art of Peace

“Blyth’s previously unpublished writings are reason enough to purchase this book. A second reason is the quality of the writing. One aspect that Blyth found vital in haiku and senryū is humor, which he called ‘the dance of life.’ His essays back up this claim, making reading them a pleasure. Along the way, Blyth compares haiku to senryū, to mysticism, to Zen, to Western literature, to Christian texts, to Buddhism, and to Western humor, to name a few. He also writes about Suzuki and Aitken, bringing new light to their notable Zen lives and teachings. For anyone who has not read Blyth, a treat awaits you. And for those who have, there is much more still to enjoy.”—Stephen Addiss, author of Zen Painting

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