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The Wisdom Anthology of North American Buddhist Poetry

Playful, thoughtful, and important, the 28 poets found in The Wisdom Anthology of North American Buddhist Poetry offer innovations on traditional and time-honored Buddhist poetic forms.

This unique collection brings us African Americans reading the Black diaspora through the eyes of exiled Tibetan monks; Americans of Vietnamese and Tibetan heritage wrestling with the cultural norms of their parents or ancestors; Zen and Dada inspired performance pieces; and groundbreaking writings from the pioneers of the Beat movement, so many of whom remain not just relevant but vital to this day.

With its eclectic mix of acknowledged elders and newly emergent voices, this landmark anthology vividly displays how Buddhism is influencing the character of contemporary poetry.

Includes biographical notes and historical introduction by the editor, enhancing its value for workshop and classroom use.

Includes works by:

  • Diane di Prima
  • Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  • Norman Fischer
  • Sam Hamill
  • Jane Hirshfield
  • Mike O'Connor
  • Gary Snyder
  • Eliot Weinberger
  • Philip Whalen
  • Michael McClure
  • Leslie Scalapino
  • and more...

"In a rich preface and introduction to this volume, editor Andrew Schelling insightfully places poetry firmly at the center of North American Buddhist engagement. Significantly, in the kind of bold gesture that we saw in his exceptional essay collection Wild Form, Savage Grammar, Schelling contends as a consequence of Buddhism's gradual migration and evolution throughout Southern, Southeast, Central, and East Asia, and now the Americas, poets from these regions themselves collectively comprise 'a tangle of unnamed but deeply influential lineages' within the religion's 2500-year teaching tradition. Milarepa, the Tang and Sung Chinese masters, Japan's wandering Zen bards, the American Beats... suddenly, it's so obvious, but no one else seems to have mentioned it quite this way before. [...] Schelling, who has arrived as one of America's most masterful writers, consistently demonstrates this instructional quality in his writing, while remaining earthy and plain-spoken, His introductory essay here will make useful for any college or university introductory poetry course [...] An excellent supplementary reading list providing bibliographic support into Buddhist, poetic, or ecological practice will also be appreciated by anyone seeking information about or working with dharma. [...] The anthology roster is a judicious mix of front-liners [...] and important second-wave figures [...] and a provocative bundle of others. It's a startling squad of powerful range, depth perception, virtuosity, that--O, merciful Buddha-- can also laugh at itself. [...] There is so much one could say about this compendium, especially from gilt-edged sages like Snyder, Kyger, and Sze. As a Wisdom edition its production values are underscored by integrity throughout, and though other Buddhist poetry collections are available these days, nothing else comes close to the excitement packed into this one. [...] [Mike] O'Connor, Master Red Pine, and Han Shan--they go together like ham 'n eggs and hashbrowns, and even tofu aficionados will find plenty to read and love in Schelling's gritty anthology, where thanks to the Buddha, the hits just keep on coming."

– Pacific Rim Review of Books

"Erudite, up-to-the-moment, delightful, diverse. Everyone will find favorites they'll want to copy and share with friends."

– Gary Gach, editor of What Book!?: Buddha Poems from Beat to Hiphop, in Buddhadharma: The Practitioners Journal

"The Wisdom Anthology of North American Buddhist Poetry, edited by Andrew Schelling, provides a sweeping overview of modern poetry as viewed by writers whose lives have been influenced by Buddhist philosophy and theology. Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Gary Snyder are the most famous poets here, but don't worry if you don't recognize many of the others by name. You will recognize the powerof their language, the brilliance of their observational skills and themajesty of their art."

– New York Resident

"The Wisdom Anthology of North American Buddhist Poetry can be appreciated as an elegant, shining jewel. Taken as a whole, this treasury is a unique contribution to the world of American poetry."

– Sir Readalot