Archive for the 'Books' Category

Sep 17 2021

Pick up your copy of The Awakened One

Published by under Books,Poetry

The Awakened One

The Awakened One
Buddha-Themed Haiku from Around the World
Edited by Adjei Agyei-Baah and Gabriel Rosenstock

$8.95 / £6.50 / €7.60

USCANUKFRDEITESAUS

Remember to pick up your copy of the Poetry Chaikhana’s latest publication, The Awakened One: Buddha-Themed Haiku from Around the World. This collection, edited by Adjei Agyei-Baah and Gabriel Rosenstock, is a collaboration of poets from quite literally all over the world, including contributions from Nigeria, Croatia, Malaysia, and more than a dozen other countries. Many of the haiku are rendered both in English and in the poet’s native language. Contemporary haiku are paired with classic haiku by Japanese masters, touching on themes of enlightenment, impermanence, and seeing the present moment as it is. This is an inexpensive book, so consider purchasing more than one copy to give as gifts or to donate to your local school or library. We want to let the haiku circulate and work its three-lined alchemy in the world.

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Sep 03 2021

Dogen – midnight – no waves, no wind

midnight — no waves, no wind
by Eihei Dogen

English version by Adjei Agyei-Baah & Gabriel Rosenstock

midnight — no waves, no wind
empty boat
flooded with moonlight

— from The Awakened One: Buddha-Themed Haiku from Around the World, Edited by Adjei Agyei-Baah / Edited by Gabriel Rosenstock


/ Image by Osman Rana /

We don’t have to hand this haiku over to the intellect to immediately understand its implications, do we? Let’s briefly sketch it out.

Midnight. A still lake, an empty boat filled with moonlight.

No activity. The mind is at rest. Emotions are calm, the will is content. In this quiet moment what we normally think of as ourselves is found to be empty, spacious, egoless. But the emptiness is not empty, it is filled with with the light of awareness. More than filled, flooded. And what does a flooded boat do? It sinks. It gives itself to the embrace of the illuminated water. Only the light and the quiet lake remain.

Or perhaps it is just a moment in time. It is what it is and nothing more: Midnight. A still lake, an empty boat filled with moonlight.

=

Eihei Dogen, sometimes respectfully referred to as Dogen Zenji, was a key figure in the development of Japanese Zen practice and the founder of the Soto Zen sect.

Dogen was born in about 1200 in Kyoto, Japan. At the age of 17, he was formally ordained as a Buddhist monk. Considering the Japanese Buddhism of the time to be corrupt and influenced by secular power struggles, Dogen traveled to China to discover the heart of the Dharma by studying Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism at several ancient monasteries.

Much of the Ch’an Buddhism he explored utilized koans and “encounter dialogues” to startle the consciousness into enlightenment, but Dogen was critical of this practice. Instead, he was drawn to the teachings of silent meditation.

Dogen returned to Japan in 1236. He left the politicized environment of Kyoto and settled in the mountains and snow country of remote Echizen Province, where he established his own school of Zen, the Soto school.

While he proved to be a talented writer and poet, the core of Dogen’s teaching was to transcend the mind’s addiction to language and form in order to become fully present and recognize one’s inherent enlightenment.

=

Hurricane Ida and its aftermath are very much in my thoughts. And the fires in California and elsewhere around the globe.

The earth speaks, sometimes we listen.

I hope you are all safe and well.

=

The Awakened One

The Awakened One
Buddha-Themed Haiku from Around the World
Edited by Adjei Agyei-Baah and Gabriel Rosenstock

$8.95 / £6.50 / €7.60

USCANUKFRDEITESAUS

I am still playing catching up with the release of the Poetry Chaikhana’s new publication, The Awakened One: Buddha-Themed Haiku from Around the World, edited by Adjei Agyei-Baah and Gabriel Rosenstock. Initial sales have been solid, but I am still investigating the best ways to ship copies to readers (and some of the haiku writers!) in countries such as Nigeria, Croatia, and Japan. The Poetry Chaikhana website itself is patiently waiting for me to add a new page highlighting The Awakened One. A lot of work goes into a little book!

The Awakened One is a beautiful book, a good gift to yourself and one to share with friends. Purchasing a copy is also an excellent way to support the Poetry Chaikhana. It makes a perfect companion to Gabriel Rosenstock’s explorations of haiku and awareness in Haiku Enlightenment.

May you be flooded with moonlight!


Recommended Books: Eihei Dogen

Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter Haiku Enlightenment: New Expanded Edition The Poetry of Zen: (Shambhala Library) The Zen Poetry of Dogen: Verses from the Mountain of Eternal Peace The Soul is Here for its Own Joy: Sacred Poems from Many Cultures
More Books >>


Eihei Dogen, Eihei Dogen poetry, Buddhist poetry Eihei Dogen

Japan (1200 – 1253) Timeline
Buddhist : Zen / Chan

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Aug 27 2021

New Book: The Awakened One

I am so pleased to announce the latest publication from the Poetry Chaikhana:


The Awakened One


Buddha-Themed Haiku from Around the World
Edited by Adjei Agyei-Baah and Gabriel Rosenstock

$8.95 / £6.50 / €7.60

USCANUKFRDEITESAUS

This new collection pairs contemporary haiku by poets from around the world with classical Japanese haiku.


     heavenly mystery . . .
     autumn leaves
     descend on a stone buddha

     – Imaizumi Sogetsu-ni (1750-1804)

          sudden wind
          the garden buddha’s head crowned
          with cherry blossoms

          rafale de vent
          le bouddha du jardin couronne
          de fleurs de cerisier

          – Olivier Schopfer (Switzerland)


Modern haikuists from the UK, the US, Croatia, India, Nigeria and a dozen other countries converse via haiku with Japanese masters, like Basho, Issa and Buson, sharing moments of insight expressed in poetry of a single breath.


     in a cloudy well
     this one moon . . .
     let us all adore it

     – Tagami Kikusha-ni (1753–1826)

          cherry blossoms
          the morning moon mingles
          with the petals

          trešnja u cvatu
          stopljen s laticama
          jutarnji mjesec

          – Tomislav Maretić (Croatia)


The Awakened One offers us a poetic dialog on the nature of awareness across culture and time.


     many solemn nights
     blond moon, we stand and marvel . . .
     sleeping our noons away

     – Matsunaga Teitoku (1571–1654)

          hilltop buddha
          moonlight in the emptiness
          of his cupped hand

          – Katherine Raine (New Zealand)


Poetry has helped me navigate through the past couple of years. Some poems bring me to silence, others give voice to my grief and anger. Some awaken pure delight, others remind me to flow with life. The Awakened One is a perfect collection for this time. Within these haiku we hear the voices of poets, men and women from all over the world contemplating a moment, a feeling, or the vast expanse, all within just a few lines. Reading them, there is a shared experience, a shared breath, a shared spark of awareness. Reading these haiku grounds us and reweaves us into the world community.

This is one to spend time with, keeping it nearby to read just a page or two at a time.

Your purchase of The Awakened One is an excellent way to support the Poetry Chaikhana. Remember to buy additional copies to send as gifts to friends and fellow poetry lovers. Copies can also be donated to schools, libraries and prisons – allowing haiku to work its healing alchemy in the world.

Have a beautiful, poetic day!

Ivan

PS – Although The Awakened One has just been published, it is already listed at #16 on Amazon’s best sellers in their Haiku & Japanese Poetry category! The longer that number remains high, the more awareness of the book will spread beyond the Poetry Chaikhana community.



Available through Amazon:
USCANUKFRDEITESAUS
Available soon through other online outlets, like Barnes & Noble, Wordery and The Book Depository.
Also available through your local bookstore by request.

4 responses so far

Aug 06 2021

New book coming soon

Published by under Books

I wanted to let everyone know that the Poetry Chaikhana will be publishing a new book soon! It is titled The Awakened One: Buddha-Themed Haiku from Around the World, edited by Adjei Agyei-Baah and Gabriel Rosenstock. This is a lovely collection pairing classic Japanese haiku with contemporary haiku written by poets from all over the world — from Nigeria, Croatia, India, Australia, Switzerland and Singapore, Brazil and Bulgaria. Haiku has become a worldwide art form.

This pocket-sized collection is a meditative dialog in haiku on questions of enlightenment, transience, nature, time and timelessness.

Keep an eye out for the book announcement in the next few weeks.

2 responses so far

Jan 15 2021

Poetry Chaikhana Publications

I don’t often talk about book sales, but I thought I’d let you know that two Poetry Chaikhana publications — Haiku Enlightenment and The Longing in Between — have been selling well since the end of 2020. Haiku Enlightenment has been in the top 100 best selling haiku books on Amazon, and The Longing in Between has been hovering in the top 100 or 200 for poetry anthologies. Amazing! I love to see these book circulating, carrying their wild, illuminating poetry out into the world. A great deal of thanks is due to you, the Poetry Chaikhana community, for your steady support and encouragement through the years.

One response so far

Nov 29 2020

Holiday Poetry Book Recommendations 2020

It has been a challenging year for most of us, I know. As we approach the winter holidays, our normal celebratory feeling is muted. We are more cautious about big family gatherings. Economic times are uncertain for many. And the new year remains unknown. But we can choose to use this as a time of spiritual opportunity. So much that we have taken for granted — in the world around us and within ourselves — has been losing its rigid certainty. When things return to a formless and changing state, that is when the greatest potential is available to us. This is a time for dreaming as new patterns form and take shape. And what better time to dream than in the deep of winter? Let us cultivate new visions for who we are and who we are becoming. Let us rediscover our native voices.

I strongly believe that poetry is one of the most powerful, resonant tools for the spirit to reach out into the world. Words and images, rhythms and silences, these expand our awareness, they shift our focus, they open our hearts — and we, in turn, inevitably affect the world around us.

So consider treating yourself to some enlightening moments of poetry this winter. Offer it as a transformative and healing gift to your family and friends. Watch as it works its magic within you and the world around you.

“Poetry has an immediate effect on the mind. The simple act of reading poetry alters thought patterns and the shuttle of the breath. Poetry induces trance. Its words are chant. Its rhythms are drumbeats. Its images become the icons of the inner eye. Poetry is more than a description of the sacred experience; it carries the experience itself.”


Here is a a holiday sampler to consider as gifts for you and your loved ones:

Poetry Chaikhana Publications

Of course, we have to start with the Poetry Chaikhana’s books!

To satisfy that longing (or awaken it)…

The Longing in Between

Sacred Poetry from Around the World
A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology

Edited with Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

In many ways this is my most personal publication, combining favorite soul-inspiring poems from the world’s great religious and spiritual traditions, accompanied by the thoughts, meditations, commentary, and occasional tangents that have been central to the Poetry Chaikhana poem emails for years. Selections from Rumi, Whitman, Kabir, Machado, Issa, Teresa of Avila, Dickinson, Blake, Yunus Emre, John of the Cross, Lalla, and many others.

These are poems of seeking and awakening… and the longing in between.

The Longing in Between is a work of sheer beauty. Ivan M. Granger has done a great service, not only by bringing [these poems] to public attention, but by opening their deeper meaning with his own rare poetic and mystic sensibility.”

ROGER HOUSDEN
author of the best-selling Ten Poems to Change Your Life series




READ MOREPURCHASE


This Dance of Bliss, Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World, A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology, Ivan M. Granger


This Dance of Bliss

Ecstatic Poetry From Around the World

A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology

Edited with Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

This Dance of Bliss is an inspiring collection of poems and wisdom stories from the world’s great sacred traditions. Rumi, St. John of the Cross, Lalla, Goethe, Hildegard von Bingen, Dogen, Khayyam, and many others gather together within these pages to sing their ecstatic songs.

Ivan M. Granger accompanies each poem with his own reflections and meditative commentaries, inviting us to explore the insights and private raptures of these mystics, seers, and saints-until we too are swept up in this dance of bliss!

This book is a treasure, a feast, an oasis. Ivan M. Granger’s profound gift for selecting the kind of poetry that lights up the cave of the heart and melts the boundaries between the soul and the Divine is fully met by his lucid reflections on the soul-transfiguring power of each piece in this magnificent collection.

MIRABAI STARR
author of God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity & Islam


READ MOREPURCHASE

Haiku Enlightenment, Gabriel Rosenstock

Haiku Enlightenment
New Expanded Edition

by Gabriel Rosenstock


PURCHASE



   

or ask at your local independent book store

Haiku Enlightenment is a delightful, often playful look at haiku as both a poetic craft and a pathway of awakening – for poets, seekers and creative rebels.

Gabriel Rosenstock has given us a rich collection of insights, distilled from a lifetime dedicated to the art and practice of poetry, on stepping into inspired moments. Using a generous selection of contemporary and classical haiku, he explores ideas of creativity and perception, encouraging us to calm the restless mind, notice what is overlooked, explore the world around us, and fully encounter each glowing moment.

From such moments, haiku – and enlightenment – emerge.

Haiku happens in this world of daily miracles and is a perfect prism through which Nature herself enlightens us.
– Gabriel Rosenstock, from Haiku Enlightenment

READ MORE

the moon    
has found it for me    
a mountain path    

    Michael McClintock   

    the body of the Buddha
    accepts it–
    winter rain

         Issa


Gathering Silence

Sayings by Ivan M. Granger
Collages by Rashani Réa

All of mysticism comes down to this:
to recognize
what is already
and always here.

Gathering Silence is a collection of meditative sayings and bits of poetry, accompanied throughout by stunning full-color artwork by internationally-known collage artist, Rashani Réa. This is beautiful book, filled with color, creative thoughts, and meditative moments. Perfect for an altar or meditation space, by your bed or on a coffee table. A wonderful gift for family, friends, and fellow seekers!

READ MOREPURCHASE

Marrow of the Flame
Poems of the Spiritual Journey
by Dorothy Walters

Introduction by Andrew Harvey

Dorothy Walters explores the spiritual journey through its ecstasies, struggles, and vistas. Each step is observed with the keen insight and clear voice of a modern woman who is both a skilled poet and genuine mystic.

READ MORE
PURCHASE


This year I thought I would change things up a bit with a more personal list. Rather than giving you a list of general gift suggestions, I thought why not create a list of the sacred poetry books that have meant the most to me at key points in my life.

I had a pleasant afternoon going through my bookshelves, pulling books I’ve loved, remembering key moments in my journeys of spiritual and poetic exploration, until I was surrounded by stacks of cherished books. I thought, this is it! This will be my holiday recommended book list this year. It was only when I then went back and checked my holiday book lists from the previous few years that I realized I have been recommending many of these personally beloved books all along. So here they are (again): my list of books recommended for the holidays, books that have opened doorways in my mind and heart, awakening a deep love of poetry as a way to express the ineffable. I hope these books will mean something special to you and your loved ones these holidays…

A Sampling of Sufi Wisdom…

Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from Sufi Wisdom
By Andrew Harvey and Eryk Hanut

Something about Andrew Harvey’s selections and translations always strike a pure note. This book is a delightful collection of poetry and Sufi wisdom stories. Rumi, Kabir, al-Hallaj, Shabistari, Ansari… This is one I return to again and again.

Nobody, Son of Nobody: Poems of Shaikh Abu-Saeed Abil-Kheir
Renditions by Vraje Abramian

I read this book early in my exploration of Sufi poetry — and I was hooked! Abu Said Abil-Kheir’s poetry ranges from the ecstatic and celestial, to struggles with abandonment. His poetry has an immediacy and even a sort of devoutly wry petulance. This book remains a personal favorite of mine.

For the wise woman…

Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women
Edited by Jane Hirshfield

This is the first anthology I got years ago that made me say, Wow! Includes Sappho, Rabia, Yeshe Tsogyel, Hildegard von Bingen, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Hadewijch of Antwerp, Lalla, Mirabai, Bibi Hayati, Marina Tsvetaeva. The best collection I’ve found of women’s voices in sacred poetry.

Kali: The Black Goddess of Dakshineswar
by Elizabeth U. Harding

Not really a poetry collection, but this was the book that first introduced me to the fierce and passionate poetry of the great Kali devotees, like Ramprasad and Kalamakanta. Elisabeth Harding has done a beautiful job of gathering together Kali lore and presenting it to a primarily Western audience, while remaining reverent toward Kali and traditions of Kali worship. She discusses the traditional symbolism of Kali and the shocking, violent images associated with Her. Kali emerges in the reader’s mind as the loving destroyer of illusion, ecstatic slayer of demonic qualities.

For illumination…

The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry
Edited by Stephen Mitchell

This is a compact anthology, but a wonderful collection that includes Li Po, Wu-Men, Rumi, Kabir, Mirabai, Rilke… And the added bonus of Stephen Mitchell’s way with words. One of my personal favorites.

The Illuminated Rumi
Translations by Coleman Barks
Art by Michael Green

I keep recommending this year after year. It is a beautiful gift book with excerpts of Rumi’s poetry accompanied by amazing digital collage artwork that draws you deeply into each page. This book entrances on several levels. An excellent gift book.



For the Christian contemplative…

The Book of Mystical Chapters:
Meditations on the Soul’s Ascent from the Desert Fathers and Other Early Christian Contemplatives
Translated and Introduced by John Anthony McGuckin

This is the book that, years ago, introduced me to the stunning poetry of Symeon the New Theologian, igniting my passion for his visionary poetry of light and transformation. You’ll also find poems and poetic renditions of writings from many other saints and mystics of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Still a favorite of mine.

Selected Poems of Thomas Merton
by Thomas Merton

I can’t recommend this collection highly enough. Merton, in addition to being a deep mystic, was a truly excellent contemporary poet. His poems feel entirely modern, yet touch on the eternal. While drawing on Catholic imagery, one can hear whispers of Eastern philosophy and insight in his words. Poems to reread and meditate deeply upon.

Hadewijch: The Complete Works
Translations by Mother Columba Hart

I was introduced to the divine love poetry of the Flemish mystic Hadewijch in the excellent anthology Women in Praise of the Sacred, edited by Jane Hirshfield. I knew I had encountered a something amazing, but the sampling in that book was frustratingly small. I finally found this book with the complete works of this mysterious Beguine spiritual figure — visions, letters, and a beautiful collection of sacred poetry. The love mysticism of her poetry rightly draws comparisons to the rich traditions of Sufi and Bhakti poetry.



For the Jewish mystic…

The Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse
Edited and Translated by T. Carmi

The most complete collection I’ve found of sacred Hebrew poetry, including Judah ha Levi, Solomon ibn Gabirol, Samuel Hanagid, the early Hekhalot Hymns, and many more. My only complaint: the translations in this encyclopedic collection are not versified, even though the Hebrew originals were. I still love it simply because it pointed me in a dozen enlightening different directions.

The Poetry of Kabbalah: Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition
Translated and Edited by Peter Cole

Finally we have a truly excellent collection of sacred Jewish poetry. While T. Carmi’s Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse is more comprehensive, Cole’s The Poetry of Kabbalah has more of a poet’s sense of language and even catches of few sparks from the mystic’s fire. This is poetry that startles and transports. The Poetry of Kabbalah has become my favorite source for Jewish mystical poetry in English.
While T. Carmi’s Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse is more comprehensive, Cole has more of a poet’s sense of language. Very highly recommended.



A moment of Zen…

The Zen Poetry of Dogen: Verses from the Mountain of Eternal Peace
Translations by Steven Heine

Although best known for his Zen discourses and his role establishing Zen practice in Japan, Dogen was an exceptional poet too. Quiet moments of insight expressed in a bare minimum of lines. One of my favorites.

Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter
Edited by Lucien Stryk and Takashi Ikemoto

A good collection without being overwhelming. I especially like it’s selection of Japanese haiku: Basho, Buson, Issa, Masahide…

Sun at Midnight: Muso Soseki – Poems and Sermons
Translations by W. S. Merwin and Soiku Shigematsu

A friend introduced me to this collection, and I was entranced. Muso Soseki is known today for establishing rock gardening as meditative Zen practice, but his poetry — wonderful! And with translations by WS Merwin, you can’t ask for more!

(And don’t forget the Poetry Chaikhana’s publication of Gabriel Rosenstock’s, Haiku Enlightenment!)



Artist, Therapist, Shaman…

Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making
By John Fox

Not a book of poetry, but a book that belongs on every poetry lover’s bookshelf. This is a book about the transformational nature of poetry – reading it, speaking it, writing it. Poetry as therapy. Poetry as a pathway to self-exploration. Poetry to rediscover your true voice. I was surprised how much I liked this book.



Transcendent Hindu verses…

Speaking of Siva
Translated by A. K. Ramanujan

This book became an immediate favorite of mine ever since I picked up a copy of it a few years ago. Stunning poems from the Shiva bhakti tradition of India. Basava, Devara Dasimayya, Akka Mahadevi, Allama Prabhu. The commentary in the book, though a little academic, is genuinely insightful. Enthusiastically recommended!

For Love of the Dark One: Songs of Mirabai
Translations by Andrew Schelling

Andrew Schelling’s translations embody that tension between heartbreak and ecstasy that runs through all of Mirabai’s poetry. These poems can be read as love poems or as spiritual poems — but, of course, they are both. A lovely collection.

And for blessings…

To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings
by John O’Donohue

I keep being told by people how much they love this book of poetic blessings from the Irish philosopher, poet, and mystic, John O’Donohue. These poetically crafted blessings and meditations on the passages of life manage to elevate the spirit, warm the heart, and, on occasion, bring a tear to the eye.

For even more book recommendations, click here.


(Every year my list gets longer. Even so, I had to leave off so many amazing books.)



Let’s remember that, in the midst of winter’s dark, this is the time to renew the light — within ourselves and our world. Regardless of religion, may we recognize our shared brotherhood and sisterhood within the human family, all within the lap of the generous green earth that is our home.

I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful holiday season — and that the new year offers you new life and new inspiration!

Ivan

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Jan 15 2020

Haiku Enlightenment is now available in Kindle format

Published by under Books

If you have been waiting for the Kindle version of Haiku Enlightenment, it is now available.

Because it is such a new release, it may still be listed as a separate item on Amazon, so you may not yet see the Kindle link if you are on the Amazon page for the printed edition, but that will be updated soon.

So the question is, how do you like your haiku — printed or digital?

Haiku Enlightenment: New Expanded Edition
   Paperback
   Kindle ebook

(The above links are for the US Amazon site, but it is available through all international Amazon sites. Soon it should be available through other online booksellers, as well. Or ask your local independent bookseller to order it for you.)

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Dec 17 2019

Gabriel Rosenstock – frosty morning

frosty morning
by Gabriel Rosenstock

frosty morning
      a robin bares his breast
            to the whole world

— from Haiku Enlightenment: New Expanded Edition, by Gabriel Rosenstock


/ Image by Richard Towell /

A frosty morning here in Colorado.

It still has that special sense of life to me, like a newborn: the Poetry Chaikhana’s latest publication, Haiku Enlightenment, by Gabriel Rosenstock. I couldn’t help but feature another selection from its pages, this by the author himself.

Remember poetry when you are planning gifts and maybe a year-end treat for yourself. Purchasing a copy of Haiku Enlightenment is a wonderful way to welcome the magic of haiku into your home, as well as Gabriel’s inspired observations on haiku as a pathway of awareness, compassion, and reconnection. And, of course, your purchase helps support the Poetry Chaikhana.

If you are on Facebook, I have just set up new Haiku Enlightenment Facebook page inspired by the new book. Personally, I’m always happy to see a haiku or short poem slip into my FB newsfeed when I check it — a secret invitation to pause, take a breath, and notice the world again. I invite you to visit and hang out with the haiku.

Okay, time to step out into that chilly morning and fill my lungs with the crisp air. The world awaits.

Have a beautiful day!


Recommended Books: Gabriel Rosenstock

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) Bliain an Bhandé – Year of the Goddess Haiku Enlightenment: New Expanded Edition Uttering Her Name Where Light Begins: Haiku
More Books >>


Gabriel Rosenstock, Gabriel Rosenstock poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry Gabriel Rosenstock

Ireland (1949 – )
Secular or Eclectic
Primal/Tribal/Shamanic : Celtic

Continue Reading »

One response so far

Dec 12 2019

Holiday Book Recommendations 2019

Every year I am surprised by how quickly the holidays are upon us, and this year is no exception. It is already the middle of December. Christmas, Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice, the New Year — they’re all just a couple of weeks away!

If you’re still looking for the right gifts for family, like-minded friends, or even fo yourself as a way to begin the new year, consider the gift of poetry and inspiration. Poetry lasts in ways few other gifts can. A really good poem unwraps itself a little more each time it is read, becoming a continuously opening gift to the mind and the heart.


Here is a a holiday sampler to consider as gifts for you and your loved ones:

Let’s start, of course, with some Poetry Chaikhana publicatons…

Haiku Enlightenment, Gabriel Rosenstock The Poetry Chaikhana’s newest publication!

Haiku Enlightenment
New Expanded Edition

by Gabriel Rosenstock

$16.95

PURCHASE



Marrow of Flame US
 Marrow of Flame UK Marrow of Flame CAN 
£12.99 / €15.25

or ask at your local independent book store

Haiku Enlightenment is a delightful, often playful look at haiku as both a poetic craft and a pathway of awakening – for poets, seekers and creative rebels.

Gabriel Rosenstock has given us a rich collection of insights, distilled from a lifetime dedicated to the art and practice of poetry, on stepping into inspired moments. Using a generous selection of contemporary and classical haiku, he explores ideas of creativity and perception, encouraging us to calm the restless mind, notice what is overlooked, explore the world around us, and fully encounter each glowing moment.

From such moments, haiku – and enlightenment – emerge.

Haiku happens in this world of daily miracles and is a perfect prism through which Nature herself enlightens us.
– Gabriel Rosenstock, from Haiku Enlightenment

READ MORE

the moon    
has found it for me    
a mountain path    

    Michael McClintock   

with every gust
the butterfly finds a new home
on the willow

Basho

    the body of the Buddha
    accepts it–
    winter rain

         Issa

I am nobody:
A red sinking autumn sun
Took my name away

    Richard Wright

To satisfy that longing (or awaken it)…

The Longing in Between

Sacred Poetry from Around the World
A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology

Edited with Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

In many ways this is my most personal publication, combining favorite soul-inspiring poems from the world’s great religious and spiritual traditions, accompanied by the thoughts, meditations, commentary, and occasional tangents that have been central to the Poetry Chaikhana poem emails for years. Selections from Rumi, Whitman, Kabir, Machado, Issa, Teresa of Avila, Dickinson, Blake, Yunus Emre, John of the Cross, Lalla, and many others.

These are poems of seeking and awakening… and the longing in between.

The Longing in Between is a work of sheer beauty. Ivan M. Granger has done a great service, not only by bringing [these poems] to public attention, but by opening their deeper meaning with his own rare poetic and mystic sensibility.”

ROGER HOUSDEN
author of the best-selling Ten Poems to Change Your Life series




READ MORE

PURCHASE: Amazon or Wordery


This Dance of Bliss, Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World, A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology, Ivan M. Granger


This Dance of Bliss

Ecstatic Poetry From Around the World

A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology

Edited with Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

This Dance of Bliss is an inspiring collection of poems and wisdom stories from the world’s great sacred traditions. Rumi, St. John of the Cross, Lalla, Goethe, Hildegard von Bingen, Dogen, Khayyam, and many others gather together within these pages to sing their ecstatic songs.

Ivan M. Granger accompanies each poem with his own reflections and meditative commentaries, inviting us to explore the insights and private raptures of these mystics, seers, and saints-until we too are swept up in this dance of bliss!

This book is a treasure, a feast, an oasis. Ivan M. Granger’s profound gift for selecting the kind of poetry that lights up the cave of the heart and melts the boundaries between the soul and the Divine is fully met by his lucid reflections on the soul-transfiguring power of each piece in this magnificent collection.

MIRABAI STARR
author of God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity & Islam


READ MORE

PURCHASE: Amazon or Wordery

A few words to find silence…

Gathering Silence

Sayings by Ivan M. Granger
Collages by Rashani Réa

Gathering Silence is a collection of meditative sayings and bits of poetry, accompanied throughout by stunning full-color artwork by internationally-known collage artist, Rashani Réa. This is beautiful book, filled with color, creative thoughts, and meditative moments. Perfect for an altar or meditation space, by your bed or on a coffee table. A wonderful gift for family, friends, and fellow seekers!


The individual is really
a magical act of seeing
with no fixed eye.

All of mysticism comes down to this:
to recognize
what is already
and always here.


Protect
the wild places
in yourself.


READ MORE

PURCHASE: Amazon or Wordery


For illumination…

The Illuminated Rumi
Translations by Coleman Barks
Art by Michael Green

I keep recommending this year after year. It is a perfect gift book with excerpts of Rumi’s poetry accompanied by amazing digital collage artwork that draws you deeply into each page. This book entrances on several levels. An excellent gift book.

The Fire of Darkness: What Burned Me Away Completely, I Became

Poetry by Fred LaMotte
Art by Rashani Réa

Another collection of the wonderful, meditative artwork of Rashani Réa, accompanied by the poetry of Fred LaMotte. I don’t think I have featured the work of Fred LaMotte, but that is something I will have to rectify soon. I have been aware of his writing for several years and I am a genuine fan. There is something immediate, fully present, but with dancing, playful sense of language — all reflecting the insights of a true modern mystic. A magical book!



For the wise woman…

Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women
Edited by Jane Hirshfield

This is the first anthology I got years ago that made me say, Wow! Includes Sappho, Rabia, Yeshe Tsogyel, Hildegard von Bingen, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Hadewijch of Antwerp, Lalla, Mirabai, Bibi Hayati, Marina Tsvetaeva. The best collection I’ve found of women’s voices in sacred poetry.

Marrow of the Flame
Poems of the Spiritual Journey
by Dorothy Walters

Introduction by Andrew Harvey

Dorothy Walters explores the spiritual journey through its ecstasies, struggles, and vistas. Each step is observed with the keen insight and clear voice of a modern woman who is both a skilled poet and genuine mystic.

Also published by the Poetry Chaikhana — Our best seller, in fact! READ MORE



A Sampling of Sufi Wisdom…

Love’s Alchemy: Poems from the Sufi Tradition
Translations by David and Sabrineh Fideler

A very good collection of Persian Sufi poetry. This book focuses on poems and poets that are not as well known in the West. A good place to discover some new names.

Tales of the Dervishes: Teaching Stories of the Sufi Masters over the Past Thousand Years
By Idries Shah

Short wisdom stories from the Sufi tradition that surprise with unexpected insight, delightful humor, and enigmatic conclusions that invite deeper contemplation. I have been rereading this favorite collection for years.

The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry
Translations by Peter Lamborn Wilson and Nasrollah Pourjavady

One of my favorite collections of the Persian Sufi poets, some you may have heard of and others who may be new to you: Jami, Attar, Hamadani, Iraqi, Hafez, Ibn Arabi, Sanai, and many others. If you like Sufi poetry, this is a book you should have.

For the Christian contemplative…

For Lovers of God Everywhere: Poems of the Christian Mystics
by Roger Housden

This has quickly become one of my favorite collections of sacred poetry within the many Christian traditions. John of the Cross, Merton, Hildegard von Bingen, Gibran, Dante, Meister Eckhart, Blake… and Roger Housden’s brief, thoughtful insights.

Selected Poems of Thomas Merton
by Thomas Merton

I can’t recommend this collection highly enough. Merton, in addition to being a deep mystic, was a truly excellent contemporary poet. His poems feel entirely modern, yet touch on the eternal. While drawing on Catholic imagery, one can hear whispers of Eastern philosophy and insight in his words. Poems to reread and meditate deeply upon.



For the Jewish mystic…

The Poetry of Kabbalah: Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition
Translated and Edited by Peter Cole

Finally we have a truly excellent collection of sacred Jewish poetry. While T. Carmi’s Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse is more comprehensive, Cole’s The Poetry of Kabbalah has more of a poet’s sense of language and even catches of few sparks from the mystic’s fire. This is poetry that startles and transports. The Poetry of Kabbalah has become my favorite source for Jewish mystical poetry in English.
While T. Carmi’s Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse is more comprehensive, Cole has more of a poet’s sense of language. Very highly recommended.



A little Zen in your pocket…

The Poetry of Zen (Shambhala Library)
Edited by Sam Hamill and J P Seaton

A very nice sampler of Japanese and Chinese Zen poetry. Han Shan, Li Po, Wang Wei, Basho, Soseki, Ryokan, Issa… The book fits well in your hand when you’re walking to the riverside or the local coffee shop.

Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter
Edited by Lucien Stryk and Takashi Ikemoto

A good collection without being overwhelming. I especially like it’s selection of Japanese haiku: Basho, Buson, Issa, Masahide…

(And don’t forget the Poetry Chaikhana’s new book, Haiku Enlightenment!)



For the Rilke lover…

Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
Translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

There are several very good translations of Rilke available, but I’ve slowly come to the opinion that Barrows and Macy, more than any others, get the tone just right. Their Rilke translations glow and uplift, but without losing the shadows that also haunt the spaces between his words. Perfect!

In the Company of Rilke
by Stephanie Dowrick

A lovely, insightful meditation of the poetry of Rilke and why it speaks so powerfully to us today. The perfect companion book to pair with your favorite Rilke collection.

Artist, Therapist, Shaman…

Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making
By John Fox

Not a book of poetry, but a book that belongs on every poetry lover’s bookshelf. This is a book about the transformational nature of poetry – reading it, speaking it, writing it. Poetry as therapy. Poetry as a pathway to self-exploration. Poetry to rediscover your true voice. I was surprised how much I liked this book.



Transcendent Hindu verses…

Speaking of Siva
Translated by A. K. Ramanujan

This book became an immediate favorite of mine ever since I picked up a copy of it a few years ago. Stunning poems from the Shiva bhakti tradition of India. Basava, Devara Dasimayya, Akka Mahadevi, Allama Prabhu. The commentary in the book, though a little academic, is genuinely insightful. Enthusiastically recommended!

I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded
Translated by Ranjit Hoskote

There are several translations of the poetry of Lalla available in English now, good ones too, but Ranjit Hoskote’s versions are my favorite. They seem to marry a love of the original language with a poet’s sense of English, without ever losing the mystic’s fire at the center of each poem. Recommended.

And for blessings…

To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings
by John O’Donohue

I keep being told by people how much they love this book of poetic blessings from the Irish philosopher, poet, and mystic, John O’Donohue. These poetically crafted blessings and meditations on the passages of life manage to elevate the spirit, warm the heart, and, on occasion, bring a tear to the eye.

For even more book recommendations, click here.


(While this list changes, it seems to get longer every year. Even so, I had to leave off so many amazing books. The drawback to loving so much poetry.)



Let’s remember that, in the midst of winter’s dark, this is the time to renew the light — within ourselves and our world. Regardless of religion, may we recognize our shared brotherhood and sisterhood within the human family, all within the lap of the generous green earth that is our home.

I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful holiday season — and that the new year offers you new pathways and new inspiration!

Ivan

No responses yet

Dec 10 2019

Book Announcement: Haiku Enlightenment

Published by under Books,Poetry

does the woodpecker
by Kobayashi Issa

English version by Gabriel Rosenstock

does the woodpecker
      stop and listen, too?
            evening temple drum

— from Haiku Enlightenment: New Expanded Edition, by Gabriel Rosenstock

Book Announcement: Haiku Enlightenment

I am so pleased to announce the Poetry Chaikhana’s newest publication: Haiku Enlightenment, by Gabriel Rosenstock, a favorite of Poetry Chaikhana readers for years.

In Haiku Enlightenment Gabriel Rosenstock uses haiku, both classic and modern, to explore perception and creativity, self and ego, the natural world and the wide-open moment. Through Gabriel Rosenstock’s eyes, the path of haiku becomes a path of enlightenment.

Rosenstock brings to his writing something of the shaman, the sage, and a bit of the prankster. I think of him as a poet in the ancient sense as someone deeply engaged with the vast mystery, from which poetry, song, and riddles naturally emerge.

True to the haiku spirit, the observations in Haiku Enlightenment are short and without embellishment. Taken together, however, they present us with a master class on the art and insight of haiku by a western master of haiku.

Like you, probably like the author himself, I cringe a bit at the use of the term “master,” but in Gabriel’s case it is entirely appropriate. Since I have featured Gabriel’s poems many times over the years, he feels like a familiar friend to the Poetry Chaikhana, so you may not realize just how accomplished and renowned he is. Gabriel Rosenstock has given readings throughout Europe, India, the Americas, and Japan. His poetry has won multiple awards and been published in World Haiku Review, Poetry (Chicago), Poetry Ireland Review and other prestigious journals. He is a member of Aosdána (the Irish Academy of Arts and Letters), former chairman of Poetry Ireland/Éigse Éireann, on the Board of Advisors to Poetry India, and a Foundation Associate of The Haiku Foundation.

An impressive list of accomplishments. But that is not the Gabriel Rosenstock I have come to know through years of correspondence. I suspect he would consider focusing on such honors to be a hindrance. His secret, I think, is that he is too prolific to pause in self-satisfaction. Every few weeks I receive a flood of new haiku from him in my email in-box, which then gives me permission to halt the rush of my day in order to step quietly into his observed moments and so return in some essential way back to myself.

Where does that endless creativity come from? How does spiritual practice produce the most luminous poetry, and how does poetry become a doorway into our own awakening? Haiku Enlightenment is a rich, poetic meditation on all of those questions. Using haiku as his medium, Gabriel Rosenstock has given us a visionary artist’s guide on how to be present… and how to disappear.

I can’t express how pleased I am to be able to offer this book to the Poetry Chaikhana and to the wider community of poetry lovers and spiritual seekers.

It is perfect to read just a page or two at a time to set the tone for the day, when beginning meditation or prayer practice, when facing the blank page, or just before a walk in nature. You don’t have to be a poet or even a reader of haiku, you just have to be curious about your own awareness and in love with the magic of small moments. Though, as you read Haiku Enlightenment, who knows what poetry might spontaneously emerge from your pen?

Sending love to everyone during this season of renewal and reawakening light that we variously call Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, and the New Year.

Ivan

Haiku Enlightenment
New Expanded Edition

by Gabriel Rosenstock

$16.95
PURCHASE

   
£12.99 / €15.25

or ask at your local independent book store

Haiku Enlightenment is a delightful, often playful look at haiku as both a poetic craft and a pathway of awakening – for poets, seekers and creative rebels.

Gabriel Rosenstock has given us a rich collection of insights, distilled from a lifetime dedicated to the art and practice of poetry, on stepping into inspired moments. Using a generous selection of contemporary and classical haiku, he explores ideas of creativity and perception, encouraging us to calm the restless mind, notice what is overlooked, explore the world around us, and fully encounter each glowing moment.

From such moments, haiku – and enlightenment – emerge.

Read More

One response so far

Dec 10 2018

Holiday Book Recommendations 2018

Published by under Books

I sometimes make a particular effort to experience slow time. But the calendar seems to speed up each year. It’s easy to be surprised that the winter holidays are here. It is already the eight day of Hanukkah. Christmas is only a couple of weeks away. The Winter Solstice. New Year.

I have had a tradition in past years of sending out a list of recommended books around the holidays. In my mind, you received this email at least two weeks ago. Let’s just say that’s when this was sent out, shall we?

If you’re still looking for some gifts to give, to family, to like-minded friends, or even to yourself as a way to begin the new year, consider the gift of poetry and inspiration. Poetry lasts in ways few other gifts can. A really good poem unwraps itself a little more each time it is read, becoming a continuously opening gift to the mind and the heart.


Here is a a holiday sampler to consider as gifts for you and your loved ones:

Let’s start, of course, with some Poetry Chaikhana publicatons…

== Poetry Chaikhana Publications ==


This Dance of Bliss, Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World, A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology, Ivan M. Granger


This Dance of Bliss

Ecstatic Poetry From Around the World

A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology

Edited with Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

This Dance of Bliss is an inspiring collection of poems and wisdom stories from the world’s great sacred traditions. Rumi, St. John of the Cross, Lalla, Goethe, Hildegard von Bingen, Dogen, Khayyam, and many others gather together within these pages to sing their ecstatic songs.

Ivan M. Granger accompanies each poem with his own reflections and meditative commentaries, inviting us to explore the insights and private raptures of these mystics, seers, and saints-until we too are swept up in this dance of bliss!

This book is a treasure, a feast, an oasis. Ivan M. Granger’s profound gift for selecting the kind of poetry that lights up the cave of the heart and melts the boundaries between the soul and the Divine is fully met by his lucid reflections on the soul-transfiguring power of each piece in this magnificent collection.

MIRABAI STARR
author of God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity & Islam


READ MORE

PURCHASE: Amazon or Wordery (free shipping worldwide)

To satisfy that longing (or awaken it)…

The Longing in Between
Sacred Poetry from Around the World
(A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology)

Edited with Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

In many ways this is my most personal publication, combining favorite soul-inspiring poems from the world’s great religious and spiritual traditions, accompanied by the thoughts, meditations, commentary, and occasional tangents that have been central to the Poetry Chaikhana poem emails for years. Selections from Rumi, Whitman, Kabir, Machado, Issa, Teresa of Avila, Dickinson, Blake, Yunus Emre, John of the Cross, Lalla, and many others.

These are poems of seeking and awakening… and the longing in between.


“The Longing in Between is a work of sheer beauty. Ivan M. Granger has done a great service, not only by bringing [these poems] to public attention, but by opening their deeper meaning with his own rare poetic and mystic sensibility.”
~ ROGER HOUSDEN, author of the best-selling Ten Poems to Change Your Life series

READ MORE


PURCHASE: Amazon or Wordery (free shipping worldwide)

For the modern mystic…

Marrow of the Flame
Poems of the Spiritual Journey
by Dorothy Walters

Introduction by Andrew Harvey

Dorothy Walters explores the spiritual journey through its ecstasies, struggles, and vistas. Each step is observed with the keen insight and clear voice of a modern woman who is both a skilled poet and genuine mystic.

Dorothy Walters’s poems are immediate and inviting, transcendent and often playful. Many of these poems are in dialog, with Rumi and Rilke, Denise Levertov and Lalla, each poem contributing its own wisdom and humor to the ongoing conversation that passes between visionaries and sages through history and across cultures.


Marrow of Flame has already become a modern classic among spiritual seekers.

These poems make me gasp. Dorothy Walters–part buddha, part elf–weaves mythic literacy with subversive compassion.” ~ Mirabai Starr

READ MORE


PURCHASE: Amazon or Wordery (free shipping worldwide)

A few words to find silence…

Gathering Silence

Sayings by Ivan M. Granger
Collages by Rashani Réa

Gathering Silence is a collection of meditative sayings and bits of poetry, accompanied throughout by stunning full-color artwork by internationally-known collage artist, Rashani Réa.

Gathering Silence is a truly beautiful book, filled with color, creative thoughts, and meditative moments. Perfect for an altar or meditation space, by your bed or on a coffee table. A wonderful gift for family, friends, and fellow seekers!

I hope you will agree that this book is a work of art!


The individual is really
a magical act of seeing
with no fixed eye.

All of mysticism comes down to this:
to recognize
what is already
and always here.


Protect
the wild places
in yourself.

READ MORE


PURCHASE: Amazon or Wordery (free shipping worldwide)


For illumination…

The Illuminated Rumi
Translations by Coleman Barks
Art by Michael Green

Excerpts of Rumi’s poetry accompanied by amazing digital collage artwork that draws you deeply into each page. This book entrances on several levels. An excellent gift book.


For the wise woman…

Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women
Edited by Jane Hirshfield

This is the first anthology I got years ago that made me say, Wow! Includes Sappho, Rabia, Yeshe Tsogyel, Hildegard von Bingen, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Hadewijch of Antwerp, Lalla, Mirabai, Bibi Hayati, Marina Tsvetaeva. The best collection I’ve found of women’s voices in sacred poetry.

The Shambhala Anthology of Women’s Spiritual Poetry
Edited by Aliki Barnstone

Another very good anthology of spiritual poetry by women, from ancient to modern times. Poets like Mirabai, Mahadevi, Lal Ded, Sappho, Sun Buer, Dickenson, Tsvetaeva. The two books together — this with Women in Praise of the Sacred — make a good collection.

The Kundalini Poems: Reflections of Radiance and Joy
by Dorothy Walters

The continuing poetic dialog between Dorothy Walters and the unfolding dance of the Kundalini. Words of a modern mystic to be savored.


For the prayerful heart…

Heaven on Earth: Timeless Prayers of Wisdom and Love
Edited by Stephanie Dowrick

Prayers as poems. Poems as prayers. A wonderful selection from Rumi to Rilke, from the Buddha to the Bible. Prayers of celebration. Prayers that heal. Prayers for sorrow. Prayers for daily life. Whether we formally pray or not, whether we connect to a personal sense of God or not, these prayer poems awaken the heart and revitalize the spirit, reconnecting us to life all around us.


A Sampling of Sufi Wisdom…

The Shambhala Guide to Sufism
By Carl W. Ernst, Ph.D.

Not a collection of poetry, but good book to help you begin to understand who the Sufis really are. An intelligent, insightful look at the history, practices, philosophies, schools, and even politics of Sufism. If you’ve loved the poetry of Rumi but only have a vague idea of how Sufism fits within the Islamic faith, this book is a good place to start.

Tales of the Dervishes: Teaching Stories of the Sufi Masters over the Past Thousand Years
By Idries Shah

Short wisdom stories from the Sufi tradition that surprise with unexpected insight, delightful humor, and enigmatic conclusions that invite deeper contemplation. I have been rereading this favorite collection for years.

Travelling the Path of Love: Sayings of Sufi Masters
Edited by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee has gathered together an excellent collection of short sayings and poetic excerpts from many of the great Sufi masters throughout the centuries. Gathered together in themed chapters, such as The Longing of the Heart, The Path, Mediatation and Prayer, and The Valley of Love. Open this book to any page late at night and find a hidden gem to contemplate.

For the Christian contemplative…

For Lovers of God Everywhere: Poems of the Christian Mystics
by Roger Housden

This has quickly become one of my favorite collections of sacred poetry within the many Christian traditions. John of the Cross, Merton, Hildegard von Bingen, Gibran, Dante, Meister Eckhart, Blake… and Roger Housden’s brief, thoughtful insights.

Selected Poems of Thomas Merton
by Thomas Merton

I can’t recommend this collection highly enough. Merton, in addition to being a deep mystic, was a truly excellent contemporary poet. His poems feel entirely modern, yet touch on the eternal. While drawing on Catholic imagery, one can hear whispers of Eastern philosophy and insight in his words. Poems to reread and meditate deeply upon.


For the Jewish mystic…

The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain
Translated and Edited by Peter Cole

An excellent collection of the great Hebrew poets and writers who emerged from the flowering of Jewish culture in Medieval Spain. A nice sampling of important figures of Kabbalah, philosophy, and culture, like Hanagid, ibn Gabirol, Halevi, Abulafia, and many more. While T. Carmi’s Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse is more comprehensive, Cole has more of a poet’s sense of language.


A little Zen in your pocket…

Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter
Edited by Lucien Stryk and Takashi Ikemoto

A good collection without being overwhelming. I especially like it’s selection of Japanese haiku: Basho, Buson, Issa, Masahide…

Haiku Enlightenment
By Gabriel Rosenstock

This book is an excellent sampling of haiku, traditional and modern, and, at the same time a wise and playful exploration of the essence of haiku insight. A bit pricey for this slim volume, but enthusiastically recommended for meditators, writers, and haiku enthusiasts. Also look for its companion volume Haiku: The Gentle Art of Disappearing.


For the Rilke lover…

Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
Translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

There are several very good translations of Rilke available, but I’ve slowly come to the opinion that Barrows and Macy, more than any others, get the tone just right. Their Rilke translations glow and uplift, but without losing the shadows that also haunt the spaces between his words. Perfect!

In the Company of Rilke
by Stephanie Dowrick

A lovely, insightful meditation of the poetry of Rilke and why it speaks so powerfully to us today. The perfect companion book to pair with your favorite Rilke collection.

Artist, Therapist, Shaman…

Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making
By John Fox

Not a book of poetry, but a book that belongs on every poetry lover’s bookshelf. This is a book about the transformational nature of poetry – reading it, speaking it, writing it. Poetry as therapy. Poetry as a pathway to self-exploration. Poetry to rediscover your true voice. I was surprised how much I liked this book.


Lover and the Beloved…

For Love of the Dark One: Songs of Mirabai
Translated by Andrew Schelling

Andrew Schelling’s translations embody that tension between heartbreak and ecstasy that runs through all of Mirabai’s poetry. These poems can be read as love poems or as spiritual poems — but, of course, they are both.

Love’s Alchemy: Poems of the Sufi Tradition
Translated by David and Sabrineh Fideler

Another very good collection of Persian Sufi poetry. This book focuses on poems and poets that are not as well known in the West. A good place to discover some new names.

Wine of the Mystic: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyan: A Spiritual Interpretation
by Omar Khayyam
Commentary by Paramahansa Yogananda

A 20th century Indian Yogi commenting on the spiritual meaning of an 11th century Persian Sufi’s poetry. That combination yields both perfume and controversy — but plenty to contemplate. Lovely artwork and border scrollwork. And Fitzgerald’s delightful translation of this classic. Recommended.

Transcendent Hindu verses…

Speaking of Siva
Translated by A. K. Ramanujan

This book became an immediate favorite of mine ever since I picked up a copy of it a few years ago. Stunning poems from the Shiva bhakti tradition of India. Basava, Devara Dasimayya, Akka Mahadevi, Allama Prabhu. The commentary in the book, though a little academic, is genuinely insightful. Enthusiastically recommended!

I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded
Translated by Ranjit Hoskote

There are several translations of the poetry of Lalla available in English now, good ones too, but Ranjit Hoskote’s versions are my favorite. They seem to marry a love of the original language with a poet’s sense of English, without ever losing the mystic’s fire at the center of each poem. Recommended.

And for blessings…

To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings
by John O’Donohue

I keep being told by people how much they love this book of poetic blessings from the Irish philosopher, poet, and mystic, John O’Donohue. These poetically crafted blessings and meditations on the passages of life manage to elevate the spirit, warm the heart, and, on occasion, bring a tear to the eye.

For even more book recommendations, click here.


(I let the list get a little long this year, but, even so, I had to leave off so many amazing books. The drawback to loving so much poetry.)


Let’s remember that, in the midst of winter’s dark, this is the time to renew the light — within ourselves and our world. Regardless of religion, may we recognize our shared brotherhood and sisterhood within the human family, all within the lap of the generous green earth that is our home.

I hope you and your loved ones have a special holiday season —

— and that the new year brings you bright blessings!

Ivan

One response so far

Sep 26 2018

Request for Online Book Reviews

If you have a copy of This Dance of Bliss and it’s sparking some thoughts (or some silence) — or if it makes you want to dance — consider posting an online review on your preferred book site, like Good Reads, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

Online browsers can’t pick a book off the shelf, hold it in their hands, and leaf through its pages. Reviews by other readers is the main way people decide to buy books online. Simply seeing that a number of people cared enough about the book to post a review is often the deciding factor to read more details about it.

Posting your own review online helps the Poetry Chaikhana and it also helps other readers to discover a new favorite book.

No responses yet

Sep 19 2018

Alternatives to Amazon

As a follow-up to my note raising concerns about Amazon’s business practices, several of you contacted me with some promising sites worth exploring. Two sites in particular caught my attention: Wordery and Better World Books. Both are online booksellers and both offer free shipping *worldwide*. Both also contribute a certain amount of their profits and book stock to charities and literacy programs.

They seem to take a little while to add new books to their online catalogs, however. This Dance of Bliss is not yet listed with their sites, but other Poetry Chaikhana publications are listed. I am in contact with them to see if I can facilitate the process of adding the new anthology.

If all continues to look promising, I may soon change the Poetry Chaikhana book links to favor one of these sites (though Poetry Chaikhana books will still remain available through Amazon and other online book sources).

In the meantime, I encourage you to explore these sites yourself. And if you have any feedback about them, please let me know:

Wordery
www.wordery.com

Better World Books
www.betterworldbooks.com

* Also, I should mention that someone sent me information about how, in response to the rising criticism, Amazon’s CEO just donated a very large sum of money to help with homelessness. While the action with most integrity would be to improve his company’s business practices and wage policies, a donation like that is not insignificant. How does that affect your perception of the company?

No responses yet

Sep 12 2018

This Dance of Bliss Now Available Everywhere!

THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT:

It’s here! This Dance of Bliss is now publicly available to everyone online through sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

For readers outside the US, This Dance of Bliss is now available through international online book sites.

You can also purchase This Dance of Bliss by requesting it through your local independent bookstore.

This Dance of Bliss, Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World, A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology, Ivan M. Granger
This Dance of Bliss

Ecstatic Poetry From Around the World

A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology

Edited with Commentary by Ivan M. Granger


$16.95
PURCHASE

Barnes & Noble and Amazon
This Dance of Bliss US
 This Dance of Bliss UK This Dance of Bliss CAN This Dance of Bliss IND
or ask at your local independent book store
This Dance of Bliss is an inspiring collection of poems and wisdom stories from the world’s great sacred traditions. Rumi, St. John of the Cross, Lalla, Goethe, Hildegard von Bingen, Dogen, Khayyam, and many others gather together within these pages to sing their ecstatic songs.

Ivan M. Granger accompanies each poem with his own reflections and meditative commentaries, inviting us to explore the insights and private raptures of these mystics, seers, and saints-until we too are swept up in this dance of bliss!

This book is a treasure, a feast, an oasis. Ivan M. Granger’s profound gift for selecting the kind of poetry that lights up the cave of the heart and melts the boundaries between the soul and the Divine is fully met by his lucid reflections on the soul-transfiguring power of each piece in this magnificent collection.

MIRABAI STARR
author of God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity & Islam


Read More:
Table of Contents + Introduction + Sample + About the Author

No responses yet

Sep 12 2018

Statement about Amazon

Amazon has been in the news lately and rightly criticized for the absurd sums of money claimed by the CEO while many of its employees earn poverty wages and lack basic job security. Amazon is just one of the more notable companies among far too many that have come to embody a brutal and predatory corporate mindset.

But given how ubiquitous Amazon is in the world of online book sales, I have not yet come up with an entirely satisfying alternative that will work for everyone.

I regularly point out that Poetry Chaikhana books are available through other online sources, like Barnes & Noble, but they don’t cater to as many countries around the globe, and the Poetry Chaikhana is a global community.

There is also the more direct approach: I can take orders and ship the books myself, as I have been doing with the recent pre-orders for This Dance of Bliss. That is something I have generally done only for limited periods of time, when I want to offer personally inscribed books. My hesitation to do that on a more regular basis is primarily because I do my Poetry Chaikhana work in my spare time. Poetry Chaikhana publications provide some welcome income, but it is not yet enough to allow me to lessen my commitments to my day job. As many of you are aware, I need to be especially careful with my time and energy because of the chronic fatigue patterns I deal with, so I can’t casually add to my weekly workload. Even so, I am giving this option some serious thought.

One of the most positive ways to purchase Poetry Chaikhana books, in my opinion, is to request them through your local independent bookstore. I receive less of a sales royalty that way, but when you purchase through a neighborhood brick-and-mortar bookstore, you are supporting a local business, you get to chat with interesting people who love books, and it’s an excuse to browse their shelves for other hidden treasures. Bookstores build communities.

If you have other good recommendations, please share them with me. I welcome your suggestions.

2 responses so far

Sep 10 2018

Pre-ordered books on their way…

I have been delightfully overwhelmed by the pre-order response for this latest Poetry Chaikhana anthology. To meet all of your orders, I have been busy for the past two weeks inscribing books, packaging them, and carrying them by the armload to the local post office.

I am pausing for a couple of days to rest and focus on my day job as I wait on a new delivery from the printer before I can send the last few pre-ordered copies out. After that, I will be sending copies to the several people around the globe who generously gave of their time to help with proofreading.

If you pre-ordered an autographed copy of This Dance of Bliss it is on its way to you, or will be very shortly. Thank you, everyone, for your enthusiastic response!

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Aug 30 2018

Final few days to pre-order This Dance of Bliss

Published by under Books

Final few days to pre-order This Dance of Bliss

A reminder to everyone that there are only two days left to pre-order your autographed copy of This Dance of Bliss. I can take pre-orders up to and including Saturday, September 1st. If you are mailing your order, please try to post it by this Saturday. I will, of course, allow plenty of time for mailed orders to arrive.

If you aren’t able to purchase a pre-order copy, the new anthology will be available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble beginning in late September.

This new Poetry Chaikhana anthology has been in the works for a few years now. I am so pleased to be able to share it with all of you. I hope its poems and musings inspire your own dance of bliss!

This Dance of Bliss, Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World, A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology, Ivan M. Granger


This Dance of Bliss

Ecstatic Poetry From Around the World
A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology

 

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