Book Excerpts

Infinities of Blue – Maggie Nelson

In a 2007┬áinterview about her writing, Maggie Nelson said that the starting question for her book, Bluets, which is all about the color blue, was this: "can I contain all the information and feeling I have collected over the years about the color blue (my favorite color) and marry it to the form of Wittgensteinian… Continue reading Infinities of Blue – Maggie Nelson

American Poetry, Book Excerpts, Poetry

Dorianne Laux – Life is Beautiful

In her poem, Life is Beautiful, Dorianne Laux is literally making art from trash as she considers the wonder of a fly and its lifecycle through the things that we discard. That the miraculous can exist in the most pungent and fecund places, and that the birth of a maggot in such a world can… Continue reading Dorianne Laux – Life is Beautiful

Book Excerpts

Mitsu Suzuki on Teaching Tea Ceremony

Mitsu Suzuki was the wife of Shunryu Suzuki who accompanied him when he moved to the United States from Japan in the 1960s. After her husband passed away in 1971, Mitsu stayed on at San Francisco Zen Center where she taught tea ceremony and haiku poetry for another two decades. This excerpt is from a… Continue reading Mitsu Suzuki on Teaching Tea Ceremony

Book Excerpts

Just Take One Step – Dainin Katagiri

Dainin Katagiri came to the United States in 1963, originally to help out at the Zenshuji mission in Los Angeles, before moving up to San Francisco to work with the Sokoji mission there as well as the San Francisco Zen Center. He eventually established his own center for practice in Minnesota. In this extract from… Continue reading Just Take One Step – Dainin Katagiri

American Poetry, Poetry

The Caged Bird Sings of Freedom

The image of a caged bird is one that Maya Angelou used repeatedly to illustrate the struggle of African-Americans during the Civil Rights era in the United States. A powerful image, it can also represent the wider human endeavor towards freedom of every variety, both internal and external. The free bird is the one who… Continue reading The Caged Bird Sings of Freedom

Book Excerpts, Japanese Texts, Texts

Master Daito’s Original Face

Daito Kokushi (also known as Myocho Shuho) was a monk born in Japan just a generation or so after Dogen's death and is widely celebrated in the Rinzai tradition. The founder of Daitoku-ji monastery - which still stands today - Daito is best known for the (probably apocryphal) tale of his decision to shun institutional… Continue reading Master Daito’s Original Face

Book Excerpts

The Lesson of a Tree – Walt Whitman

After Walt Whitman suffered a stroke at the age of 54, he spent his time immersed in nature as he slowly recovered his health. This passage from the collection of his notes and sketches called Specimen Days is a beautiful meditation on trees and their eloquence, endurance and imperturbability. 'It is, yet says nothing,' he… Continue reading The Lesson of a Tree – Walt Whitman

Book Excerpts, Persian Poetry, Poetry

On the Lip of Oblivion We Linger – Hafiz

Fourteenth century poet Hafiz is one of Persia's most celebrated poets. Not so much is known about him, and it's thought that only a small portion of his prodigious work survives. At first glance, many of Hafiz's poems read like heartbroken laments, penned at closing time after a rowdy night at the tavern. However, they… Continue reading On the Lip of Oblivion We Linger – Hafiz