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Buddhadharma : Winter 2011
BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY WINTER 2 0 11 80 squarely on Naropa. His questions concentrated on the poets’ connection with the institution, and he frequently referred to the so-called “Poetry Wars” scandal there in 1975, which in his introduction he described as “color- ful” but to me, by now, seems sordid and old. Each of the poets was asked to give a brief spiritual autobiography, but I was disappointed that they weren’t encouraged to talk in more depth about the interpenetration of their dharma practices and writing. Maybe that’s unreasonable of me. Perhaps Whalen- Bridge tried, and the poets, knowing that these are things that cannot be talked about and can only be practiced, wisely remained silent. Writing as Enlightenment promises to take the field of Buddhist American literature into the twenty-first century, but does it? In the first volume in the series, The Emergence of Buddhist American Liter- ature, I expected to see multiple chapters focusing on works by Snyder, Kingston, and Johnson, along with Ernest Fenol- losa, Philip Whalen, Kerouac, Anne Waldman, Allen Ginsberg, and John Giorno. The theme of that volume was emergence, and these are the venerable pioneers of Buddhist American litera- ture. I was especially pleased to see a paper on the wonderful and lesser- known novel Monkey Bridge by Viet- namese law professor Lan Cao. The first volume featured a foreword by Kingston in addition to an interview with her, and an afterword by Johnson. There’s quite a bit of overlap between the first and third volumes, and the writers and works discussed seem to fall within a fairly narrow range. Writ- ing as Enlightenment again features Snyder, Kingston, and Johnson, and all but two of the writers discussed or interviewed were born in the early half of the 1900s. The great majority of the work was written in the midcentury, Reviews INSIGHT MEDITATION SOCIETY 1230 Pleasant Street, Barre MA 01005 • 978.355.4378 • www.dharma.org • firstname.lastname@example.org VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR RETREAT CENTER AND FOREST REFUGE SCHEDULES Enter the refuge of an IMS retreat Experience silence and simplicity Strengthen awareness and kindness Build a foundation for wise and compassionate action