Essential Zen

In brief, Essential Zen isn't. This 1994 collection of stories and poetry, edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi and Tensho David Schneider, stumbles and stutters. Most of the contents seem badly translated—even if the original language is English. The only striking poem is by Lou Hartmen in the section "Great Doubt":

Scalding coffee from a freezing cup.
At the rim no telling
Which is which.

That's a gem, alas a rare one among the clinkers. (Or maybe I'm too unenlightened to appreciate the rest? Or maybe the authors and editors are too enlightened?)

^z - 2009-07-27