Thursday, July 23, 2009

Gary Snyder, Poetry, and Zen

Some quotes I like (although I may not necessarily agree) from Just One Breath: The Practice of Poetry and Meditation by Gary Snyder
In 1966, just before Oda Roshi died, I had a talk with him in the hospital. I said, "Roshi! So it's Zen is serious, poetry is not serious." He said "No, no—poetry is serious! Zen is not serious."
Poetry is a way of celebrating the actuality of a nondual universe in all its facets. Its risk is that it declines to exclude demons.
Poetry is how language experiences itself. It's not that the deepest spiritual insights cannot be expressed in words (they can, in fact) but that words cannot be expressed in words.
Therefore the ultimate subject matter of a "mystical" Buddhist poetry is profoundly ordinary... (The really fine poems are maybe the invisible ones, that show no special insight, no remarkable beauty. But no one has ever really written a great poem that had perfectly no insight, instructive unfolding, syntactic deliciousness—it is only a distant ideal.)

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