The Poetry of Zen

The Poetry of Zen, by Sam Hamill (editor). ISBN 1570628637. Hamill, founding editor of Copper Canyon Press, and J. P. Seaton, a professor of Chinese, unite forces to translate and edit this collection of Zen poetry from China and Japan. More than an anthology, this is a little Zen primer with brief bios of all of the poets and insightful introductions that illuminate the collection in the context of Buddhist history and practice. As Hamill explains, poetry has long been part of Zen practice, and it seems not only to express deep philosophical and spiritual questions, but also to provoke them. Poignantly summarizing the "why" of creating this collection, Hamill states, "A good poem says more than the sum of its words, leading the reader into the practice of understanding the great unsaid that is contained, framed in a poem's rhythms, words, and silences." These poems indeed lead one to meditate on the quality of the mind, the nature of life. This may be a little book, but it is a major collection. -Janet St. John. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved