Experience: Thinking, Writing, Language, and Religion

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Product Details

University Alabama Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 8.9 X 1.1 inches | 0.01 pounds

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About the Author

Norman Fischer is a former abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center and the founder of the Everyday Zen Foundation. He is the author of twenty books of poetry, criticism, and theology, among them the poetry collections The Strugglers, I Was Blown Back, Success, and Questions/Places/Voices/Seasons and the prose works Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong, Sailing Home: Using Homer's "Odyssey" to Navigate Life's Perils and Pitfalls, Opening to You: Zen-Inspired Translations of the Psalms, and Taking Our Places: The Buddhist Path to Truly Growing Up.


"If only I had practiced a Buddhist form of meditation during my lifetime,
then I might not need this book so badly.
If only I had been educated by Norman Fischer.
If only I understood before what I understand now,
after reading Experience.
If only I had studied Dogen.
If only I could have such calm as is provided in these pages.

If only, if only!

Now I can carry the book around with me.
And at least I can give it to young friends.
But really and truly, I wish I had had this book before."
--Fanny Howe, author of Second Childhood and The Winter Sun: Notes on a Vocation

"Experience is not so much criticism or polemic as it is a guide to living one's life inside and outside of poetry, and of making that life consonant with one's art."
--Susan M. Schultz, author of A Poetics of Impasse in Modern and Contemporary Poetry and editor of The Tribe of John: Ashbery and Contemporary Poetry
"[ . . . } this book is tremendously valuable, no matter what avenue readers approach it through. While the concepts seem esoteric, at root, his poetics and Buddhist practice are deeply ordinary and practical. That tension makes the book so rewarding, as greater coherence unfolds."
--American Microreviews and Interviews

"Norman Fischer's Experience is the fruit of a life's work in Zen (and other religious practice) as well as in poetry. It is mature, syncretic, wide-ranging, and open-hearted. Fischer is able to find common ground between Judeo-Christian and Buddhist beliefs or between Zen and the writing life without eliding the differences and contradictions. When he says that, in a certain type of Zen meditation, 'you allow the phrases to come forward to you as if they were alive, ' I (as a poet) know precisely what that means. In these essays, Fischer accomplishes it."
--Rae Armantrout, author of Versed, Just Saying, and Itself