Gusts + Zen Mercies

Gusts + Zen Mercies

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Zen Mercies / Small Satoris

Marianne Bluger

5 X 8 inches, 64 pages

Penumbra Press Poetry Series, No. 57

FROM LUMINOUS MOMENTS OF DEEP AWARENESS, Bluger brings us more of her sharp yet gently memorable tanka.

Bluger's gusts, the first collection of tanka to appear in English in Canada, has become a sort of classic. Of the tanka in gusts Christopher Wiseman wrote: "I have REALLY enjoyed this book. It's the images and depth and modesty and dignity and insight and sheer humanity that distinguish Bluger."

A Christian of mystical bent, Bluger still retains the earthy directness of her Jewish heritage (her father was a Shoah survivor), as well as the disciplined sensibility of one trained in Zen meditation, which she practised in the sixties and seventies when married to a now prominent Zen Master. Bluger has won many awards and prizes for her poetry.

With her husband, the well-known birder, Larry Neily, Bluger lives in Ottawa, where she is at work on a collection of lyric portraits. Zen Mercies/Small Satoris is her ninth book of poems.


Selected Tanka

Marianne Bluger

4 X 6 inches, 112 pages

Penumbra Press Poetry Series, No. 44

BLUGER'S POEMS ARE ELEGANT AND SPARE. They are also pure, powerful and uncompromisingly modern. Although Japanese poets have been writing tanka for more than a millennium, Gusts is the first book-length collection of tanka published in Canada.

Since the late sixties, when she was married to a zen master, Marianne Bluger has been experimenting with Japanese forms. Her previous work, Tamarack & Clearcut, is a significant and beautiful collection of haiku. Professor Sanford Goldstein, a gifted tanka poet in his own right and translator of Tangled Hair, Red Lights, and several other classics of modern Japanese literature, has been a mentor and sometime editor in the compilation of this book. To read Bluger's tanka is to experience a fresh aesthetic and to feel the quickening of one's own heart. Each fleeting moment is captured with passion, precision and eloquence.

a red-eyed whino
slouched in the sun
on the Bank Street Bridge
watching everyone

from sweet- grass

Resting our oars
we drift
in the mysterious
forest of married silence

from the marriage cryptic