Poetry and Zen: Letters and Uncollected Writings of R. H. Blyth
Letters and Uncollected Writings of R. H. Blyth
Never before published letters and uncollected short writings of R. H. Blyth, champion of Zen and the person who brought haiku to the world.
Poetry and Zen is a collection of the letters, articles, translations, reviews, and selections from the posthumous papers of Reginald Horace Blyth (1898-1964). Blyth's voluminous writings on Zen, Japanese culture, and the Japanese verse forms haiku and senryu captured the imagination of a great many readers in the English-speaking world in the decades following World War II. His enlightening wit and inimitable style struck a particularly sensitive chord in the artistic community, providing inspiration to many poets and writers and playing a very considerable role in kindling global interest in Zen and haiku.
Blyth's penetrating insights on these topics in a series of books published between 1942 and 1970 helped lay the foundation for the remarkable expansion of Zen outside of East Asia, as well as the popularization of haiku as an international verse form that took place after his death. Poetry and Zen is the first collection of Blyth's letters and short writings. The generous array of Blyth's literary output and personal writing on display here showcases the wide-ranging interests and brilliant mind of a pivotal figure in the history of modern Zen and Japanese poetry.
R. H. BLYTH (1898-1964) stands with just a few others—D. T. Suzuki, Alan Watts, Ruth Fuller Sasaki—as the earliest successful proponents of Japanese literary aesthetics and Zen practice and worldviews to Western readers. His 1942 book
Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics is a landmark in the cultural history of modern Zen, and his volumes of translated East Asian poetry helped bring that region's poetic traditions to world renown.
NORMAN WADDELL, born in Washington, D.C. in 1940, was attracted to Japan by the works of the legendary D. T. Suzuki and his protégée R. H. Blyth. He taught at Otani University for over thirty years, and was editor of the
Eastern Buddhist Journal for several decades. He has published more than a dozen books on Japanese Zen Buddhism and is considered one of the finest translators of sacred texts of our time. He is the authoritative English translator of works by and about Hakuin.