What If Zen Gardens

By Henry Beissel

What If Zen Gardens
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In What If Zen Gardens, Henry Beissel, often considered the master of the long poem, turns to the time-honoured tradition of the haiku to help bring to light what he calls "the world's hidden affairs. " Included in the collection are a series of black-and-white illustrations ... Read more


Overview

In What If Zen Gardens, Henry Beissel, often considered the master of the long poem, turns to the time-honoured tradition of the haiku to help bring to light what he calls "the world's hidden affairs. " Included in the collection are a series of black-and-white illustrations by Arlette Francière, themselves polished gems that highlight, reflect and enhance the poems.

Henry Beissel

Henry Beissel is a poet, playwright, fiction writer, translator and editor with well over 30 books published. Among his 23 collections of poetry are his epic Seasons of Blood and the lyrical Stones to Harvest. As a playwright he came to international fame with Inuk and the Sun, which premiered at the Stratford Festival in 1982 and has been translated into many languages and produced internationally. His most recent books of poetry include Fugitive Horizons, which engages the world of modern science; his celebration of our land and its people in Cantos North, which was republished in a bilingual English/French edition for the 150th anniversary of Canada. Henry is Distinguished Emeritus Professor at Concordia University (Montreal) where he taught English Literature for thirty years and founded a flourishing Creative Writing Program. He now lives with his wife, Arlette Francière, the painter and literary translator, in Ottawa.

Reviews

A surprise from a poet renowned for his complex long poems, the “364 haiku and 1 tanka” in this collection strike a gentle and contemplative mood. Starting with a gorgeous misty cover in blues, greens, soft yellows and purples by artist Arlette Francière, the reader is led into imagery drawn from the meticulously planned and sculpted rock and water gardens of Japanese Zen tradition. This is matched with Beissel’s thoughtful twists on the mind and how it relates to the natural and mundane human world we live in … What If Zen Gardens … is a book to place somewhere sunlit and easy to reach where its attractive cover and contents invite a wander through gardens of repose, taken in small steps and with frequent stops to enjoy the view.

Susan McMaster

In a world where time has become something of an obsession, the reader is given the chance to slow down and enjoy each haiku individually or as part of a greater whole, to revel in the beauty of words …

Contemporary Verse 2

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