Experience : thinking, writing, language, and religion by Norman Fischer

By Norman Fischer

By what slender course is the ineffable silence of Zen cleft by means of the scratch of a pen? The distilled insights of 40 years, Norman Fischer’s Experience: considering, Writing, Language, and Religion is a set of essays via Zen grasp Fischer approximately experimental writing as a religious practice.
Raised in a Conservative Jewish kinfolk, Fischer embraced the dual practices of Zen Buddhism and cutting edge poetics in San Francisco within the early Seventies. His paintings contains unique poetry, descriptions of Buddhist perform, translations of the Hebrew psalms, and eclectic writings on a number issues from Homer to Heidegger to Kabbalah. either Buddhist priest and player in avant-garde poetry’s Language circulate, Fischer has limned the fertile affinities and inventive contradictions among Zen and writing, gathering 4 a long time of wealthy insights he stocks in Experience.
Fischer’s paintings has been deeply enriched via his collaborations with best rabbis, poets, artists, esteemed Zen Buddhist practitioners, Trappist priests, and well known Buddhist leaders, between them the Dalai Lama. on my own and with others, he has carried on a deep and sustained research into the intersection of writing and cognizance as knowledgeable by means of meditation.
The essays during this artfully curated assortment diversity throughout divers, attention-grabbing issues akin to time, the center Sutra, God within the Hebrew psalms, the perfect “uselessness” of artwork making, “late paintings” as a class of poetic appreciation, and the sophisticated and doubtful suggestion of “religious experience.” From the theoretical to the revealingly own, Fischer’s essays, interviews, and notes aspect towards a dramatic enlargement of the feel of non secular feeling in writing.
Readers who subscribe to Fischer in this course in Experience can become aware of how language isn't really an outline of expertise, yet relatively an event itself: moving, indefinite, and essential.

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You could change the world that way. Ted Berrigan thought that an interesting experiment was to type one of your poems and type “Robert Creeley” at the bottom, or to type a Robert Creeley poem and type your name at the bottom. Sometimes I type other people’s work without including the name and put them in folders that contain my own works with no name and later I have forgotten which are which. This is also an interesting thing to do. 17 In my mind there are many considerations, myriad contradictions; I have found nearly everything that can be thought and felt; and I am sure that if I look still longer, I will find much more; but when I say hello to you, you can identify that it is me; not only by the look and sound my body makes, but also because my actions now seem consistent with my actions then; this still is different from “Norman Fischer” as a powerful word that conditions a literary work or group of works; what that word means is clearly socially defined, having far less to do with myself in any way I can understand myself than with the collective self of those people who have created it (readers).

Out of the intimacy of this “bringing together” comes naming. And then naming has its own momentum. It becomes a form of control. We name something out of love. And our naming of it immediately becomes a way to control it. And we can’t control it. Consider naming a child as one example of what I am speaking of. I believe that evidence of this perplexing, this agonizing, situation can be seen all around us. In speaking and thinking, it is easy to miss it. But in the act of writing, when language is not produced automatically but is always consciously confronted, I do not think it is possible to avoid working out a way of dealing with this knot that is essentially what language is.

Artists in residence there would often find their way to Green Gulch to say hello. That’s how I first met Gil Ott, poet and publisher of Singing Horse Press, and Lewis Hyde, poet, scholar, and author of the famous and essential The Gift. Lewis had recently been appointed to the faculty of Kenyon College and invited me for a visit there to talk to his students about poetry. This piece was written for them in response to questions they proposed. The word “explanations” in the title of the piece seems to be drenched with irony.

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