Poetry. California Interest. Zen Buddhism. "'without love no quirks,' writes Norman Fischer in the midst of ANY WOULD BE IF. One might add: without quirks, no life, as in this book Fischer proceeds 'by ellipsis,' and suggests that living, noticing, even drinking tea, manifests in similar fashion. Indeed, 'the teacup told us how to hold it,' provides one of many delightful and slightly puzzling, or perhaps uncanny, moments in a book full of moments. Moments of thought, moments of action, moments of light, moments of language, moments through which 'we pull ourselves into now.' If one wants a book to show the world, not in its grandeur (or, maybe that, too) but in its process, in the betweenness we all inhabit, then this is the book one wants. I know I am glad to have it, and to return to it, often, 'to be.'"—Charles Alexander
Norman Fischer has published twenty-one books of poetry and six books on Buddhism. His poetry has been anthologized in The Wisdom Anthology of North American Poetry, Basta Azzez enough, What Book? and many literary magazines. He holds an MFA from the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop and a Masters in Buddhism from the Graduate Theological Union at the University of California at Berkeley. He has been a Zen Buddhist priest for more than 40 years, serving as co- abbot for the San Francisco Zen Center from 1995-2000. Founder and teacher of the Everyday Zen Foundation, he is one of the most highly respected Zen teachers in America, regularly leading Zen Buddhist retreats and events around the world. His essays have appeared in such notable collections as Radical Poetics and Secular Jewish Culture (University of Alabama Press, 2010) and are frequently included in Best Buddhist Writing (Shambhala). His collections of essays on writing, Experience: Thinking, Writing, Language and Religion (University of Alabama Press) and on Buddhism, When You Greet Me I Bow (Shambhala) are widely read, as is his translation of the Hebrew psalms, Opening to You.