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Over 125 poetic companions for all life’s ups and downs. The Buddha once told a disciple that good spiritual friends are the whole of holy life. The poems expertly gathered here offer all that one might hope for in such spiritual friendship: wisdom, compassion, peacefulness, good humor, and the ability to both absorb and express the deepest human emotions of grief and joy. T Over 125 poetic companions for all life’s ups and downs. The Buddha once told a disciple that good spiritual friends are the whole of holy life. The poems expertly gathered here offer all that one might hope for in such spiritual friendship: wisdom, compassion, peacefulness, good humor, and the ability to both absorb and express the deepest human emotions of grief and joy. The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy offers a wide-ranging collection of 129 ancient and modern poems unlike any other anthology on bookshelves today. It uniquely places Buddhist poets like Han Shan, Tu Fu, Saigyo, Ryokan, Basho, Issa, and others alongside modern Western poets one would not expect to find in such a collection—poets like Wallace Stevens, Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, William Stafford, Denise Levertov, Jack Gilbert, Ellen Bass, Billy Collins, and more. What these poems have in common, no matter whether they are explicitly Buddhist, is that all reflect the essential truths the Buddha articulated 2,500 years ago. The book provides an important poetic complement to the many prose books on mindfulness practice—the poems here both reflect and embody the dharma in ways that can’t be matched by other modes of writing. It’s unique features include an introduction that discusses the themes of impermanence, mindfulness, and joy and explores the relationship between them. Biographical notes place the poets in historical context and offer quotes and anecdotes to help readers learn about the poets’ lives. A short essay at the back of the book on “Mindful Reading” helps readers approach the poems from an experiential, non-analytical perspective and illustrates the similarities between meditation and the mindful reading of poetry. Brehm also includes a guided meditation on sound that helps readers appreciate the sonic qualities of poetry and shows how the anthology might be used in ongoing spiritual practice.  


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Over 125 poetic companions for all life’s ups and downs. The Buddha once told a disciple that good spiritual friends are the whole of holy life. The poems expertly gathered here offer all that one might hope for in such spiritual friendship: wisdom, compassion, peacefulness, good humor, and the ability to both absorb and express the deepest human emotions of grief and joy. T Over 125 poetic companions for all life’s ups and downs. The Buddha once told a disciple that good spiritual friends are the whole of holy life. The poems expertly gathered here offer all that one might hope for in such spiritual friendship: wisdom, compassion, peacefulness, good humor, and the ability to both absorb and express the deepest human emotions of grief and joy. The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy offers a wide-ranging collection of 129 ancient and modern poems unlike any other anthology on bookshelves today. It uniquely places Buddhist poets like Han Shan, Tu Fu, Saigyo, Ryokan, Basho, Issa, and others alongside modern Western poets one would not expect to find in such a collection—poets like Wallace Stevens, Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, William Stafford, Denise Levertov, Jack Gilbert, Ellen Bass, Billy Collins, and more. What these poems have in common, no matter whether they are explicitly Buddhist, is that all reflect the essential truths the Buddha articulated 2,500 years ago. The book provides an important poetic complement to the many prose books on mindfulness practice—the poems here both reflect and embody the dharma in ways that can’t be matched by other modes of writing. It’s unique features include an introduction that discusses the themes of impermanence, mindfulness, and joy and explores the relationship between them. Biographical notes place the poets in historical context and offer quotes and anecdotes to help readers learn about the poets’ lives. A short essay at the back of the book on “Mindful Reading” helps readers approach the poems from an experiential, non-analytical perspective and illustrates the similarities between meditation and the mindful reading of poetry. Brehm also includes a guided meditation on sound that helps readers appreciate the sonic qualities of poetry and shows how the anthology might be used in ongoing spiritual practice.  

30 review for The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ilse

    Don’t say my hut has nothing to offer: come and I will share with you the cool breeze that fills my window. (Ryōkan) In this collection East meets West. Ancient poets like Chuang-Tzu, Tu Fu, Han Shan and Li Po meet their modern- counterparts in Fernando Pessoa, Yannis Ritsos, Szymborska, Anna Swir, Philip Larkin, Ellen Bass, William Carlos Williams, James Wright and many others. Chinese and Japanese poems ranging from the 4th century BCE to the 19th century (like three of the four haiku masters) are Don’t say my hut has nothing to offer: come and I will share with you the cool breeze that fills my window. (Ryōkan) In this collection East meets West. Ancient poets like Chuang-Tzu, Tu Fu, Han Shan and Li Po meet their modern- counterparts in Fernando Pessoa, Yannis Ritsos, Szymborska, Anna Swir, Philip Larkin, Ellen Bass, William Carlos Williams, James Wright and many others. Chinese and Japanese poems ranging from the 4th century BCE to the 19th century (like three of the four haiku masters) are placed alongside contemporaneous European and American poetry, of Buddhist and non-Buddhist inspiration, finding each other in the unifying premise that mindfulness of impermanence leads to joy. Joy can be found in the present moment. According to the editor of this anthology, the poet John Brehm, living in the full knowledge that everything changes changes everything and so we can see the world as what it truly is: a source of amazement and delight. Rooted gently in the earth, the now and in inner silence, the poems enchant and captivate by the charming or philosophical way of capturing the moment or emotion. Suffused with humour, playfulness, energy as well as wisdom and contemplation, the poets formulate their lyrical observations of the everyday with clarity and precision. Sparkling, dashing, melancholic, witty or inventive, their insightful perceptions take on a variety of tones and hues. And suddenly a memory of birds that sank into the unknown. (Yannis Ritsos (1909-1990)) In all its dazzling variety in tones, colours, lengths, forms (from haiku to free verse), moods and atmospheres, the three interconnected themes around which the selected poems are organised bring an marvellous unity to this anthology. Whether it is impermanence, mindfulness or joy one is looking for, one can open the section which feels in tune with one’s own mood, or in contrast with it plunge into the lake of a complementary state of mind. In a concluding essay on ‘mindful reading’ John Brehm invites the reader to feel into the mood of the poem and let it colour the reader’s own inner state, as a form of meditation. Silence flows into me and out of me washing my past away. I am pure already, waiting for you. Bring me your silence. They will doze off nestled in each other’s arms, our two silences. (Anna Swir (1909-1984)) For readers who might be slightly uncomfortable with the concepts of mindfulness or meditation or who tend to scepticism when coming across musings on Dharma I would recommend to skip the thoughtful and inspiring introduction and get to the poems first. From the appendices comes the intriguing and beneficial suggestion not to focus on rational analysis and interpretations of the significance of words or images when reading a poem, but to experiencing it, to understand it through the senses, following Keats’s advice. The moon is a house In which the mind is master. Look very closely: only impermanence lasts. The floating world, too, will pass. (Ikkyū Sojun) The collection closes with a short biographical note on every poet, small pieces which I found enlightening and very much worthwhile reading, as they often quote a striking or insightful observation of on the poet’s poetica, or an amusing anecdote illustrating the poet’s attitude to life, like on the Iconoclast zen monk Ikkyū Sojun (1394-1481) holding unconventional views on enlightenment, to be deepened by visiting brothels, considering sex a religious rite (‘The autumn breeze of a single night of love is better than a hundred thousand years of sitting meditation’). Or take the anecdote on Ryōkan (1758-1831): ’When a famous scholar, Kamela Hosai, visited him, they spent the day talking poetry and Zen. Ryōkan decided to go to the village to get sake so they might continue their discussion into the evening. Hosai waited and waited, but Ryōkan did not return. Finally, Hosai set out to find the poet and discovered him sitting under a pine tree, enraptured by the full moon. Hosai shouted, “Ryōkan! Where have you been? I’ve been waiting for more than three hours! I thought something terrible had happened to you!” Ryōkan replied, “Hosai-san! You have come just in time. Isn’t the moon splendid?’ Of many a poet, the losses and troubles he or she suffered in life are pointed at (Robert Frost, Yannis Ritsos, Kobayashi Issa, Elisabeth Bishop, Kenneth Rexroth, Ruth Stone, Tu Fu) which seems to shed further light on the often serene way the poets handle transience, death and grief in their poetry. The quickest way to change the world is to like it the way it is. (A.R. Ammons (1926-2002)) Some poems spoke more to me than others, but as a whole I thought this an inspiring, vibrant and illuminating treasure trove of a collection, which I enjoyed reading from cover to cover first (afterwards reading in the introduction it was Brehms’s intention to group the poems by affinity and resonance, each poem connected to and coloured by the poems surrounding it, which added flavour and significance to the poems) and returning to some poems in the months following. My special thanks to Tearsline for bringing this wonderful collection to my attention and to Miriam for making me aware of the photographic art of Minor White. The bird photographs of Finnish photographer Pentti Sammallahti I discovered after reading an essay on him written by John Berger (in Why Look at Animals?). If you are looking for a full and profound appreciation of the excellence of this distinctive and refined collection, I'd recommend reading Joseph’s review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dolors

    What a fitting collection of poetry to read during this period of my life, when everything occurs indoors, and mostly, within myself. Poems about the impermanent nature of things, about the joy of living in the moment and basking in the small miracles that happen daily around us, unnoticed, almost reluctantly, until we have the chance to pay attention and be mindful of them. Poetry and meditation have much in common. The musicality of repeated sounds and silences, the power of words intimately mut What a fitting collection of poetry to read during this period of my life, when everything occurs indoors, and mostly, within myself. Poems about the impermanent nature of things, about the joy of living in the moment and basking in the small miracles that happen daily around us, unnoticed, almost reluctantly, until we have the chance to pay attention and be mindful of them. Poetry and meditation have much in common. The musicality of repeated sounds and silences, the power of words intimately muttered for oneself only, the relaxing effect of art, mysticism and wisdom recited like mantras. Gathering poets from all over the world, spanning centuries and currents, John Brehm brings together an exquisite selection of poems that speak to each other in equal terms, regardless of time, culture or language. And so, Szymborska’s realism blends with Wallace Stevens’ imagination in a world disinhabited by God; while Shakespeare’s playfulness calls out to Saigyô’s mastery of the waka form in effortless harmony. It’s almost a wonder, the way each poem blends with the next and invites the reader to enter a pure, undisturbed space in his mind, where every noise, inner or outer, is welcome and perfectly integrated in the reading experience. We are mere passersby, meant to be here for only a brief moment, but it’s the impermanence of our existence that should allow us to appreciate the here and now, to be joyful and grateful for it, and to marvel at the magic that surrounds us everywhere; the kicking of an unborn baby in my belly, the miracle of life within myself, the feeling of my body blooming with new life. If that is not eternity, I don’t know what it can be.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anima

    Introduction ‘No poem can last for long unless it speaks, even if obliquely, to some essential human concern. Tu Fu’s poem about the pathos of ruins at Jade Flower Palace, which opens this anthology, has lasted more than thirteen centuries, reminding us that impermanence is one of poetry’s oldest themes, perhaps the oldest. Of the prince who ruled there long ago, Tu Fu writes: ‘His dancing girls are yellow dust. Their painted cheeks have crumbled Away. His gold chariots and courtiers are gone. Introduction ‘No poem can last for long unless it speaks, even if obliquely, to some essential human concern. Tu Fu’s poem about the pathos of ruins at Jade Flower Palace, which opens this anthology, has lasted more than thirteen centuries, reminding us that impermanence is one of poetry’s oldest themes, perhaps the oldest. Of the prince who ruled there long ago, Tu Fu writes: ‘His dancing girls are yellow dust. Their painted cheeks have crumbled Away. His gold chariots and courtiers are gone. Only A stone horse is left of his Glory.’ ..... The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy is not intended to be definitive. These are simply the poems I’ve found most powerful on these three themes. Many of them have been friends for years, poems that I have returned to again and again, taken comfort in and been astonished by — poems that have deepened my spiritual practice and helped me feel alive to the wonder and strangeness and sadness of the world. .... My wish is that these poems may become spiritual companions on your path, deepen your practice, whatever it might be, and offer a taste of that eternally transient delight that is always disappearing and always present.‘ Reflective- by A. R. Ammons ‘I found a weed that had a mirror in it and that mirror looked in at a mirror in me that had a weed in it‘ Here by P. Larkin ‘.... Loneliness clarifies. Here silence stands Like heat. Here leaves unnoticed thicken, Hidden weeds flower, neglected waters quicken, Luminously-peopled air ascends; And past the poppies bluish neutral distance Ends the land suddenly beyond a beach Of shapes and shingle. Here is unfenced existence: Facing the sun, untalkative, out of reach.‘

  4. 4 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    How did I even run across this book? I wandered across it at B&N at our school's book fair held there last spring and I've been reading on it ever since. What kinds of poems are in this book? Lots you already know, if you've read much poetry of impermanence, mindfulness, and joy, like Basho and Ryokan and Robert Frost's "Nothing Gold Can Stay" and Issa and Frank O'Hara and, of course, Ron Padgett and Billy Collins. I liked impermanence, but I loved mindfulness and joy. It's a keeper. How did I even run across this book? I wandered across it at B&N at our school's book fair held there last spring and I've been reading on it ever since. What kinds of poems are in this book? Lots you already know, if you've read much poetry of impermanence, mindfulness, and joy, like Basho and Ryokan and Robert Frost's "Nothing Gold Can Stay" and Issa and Frank O'Hara and, of course, Ron Padgett and Billy Collins. I liked impermanence, but I loved mindfulness and joy. It's a keeper.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Florencia

    The moon is a house In which the mind is master. Look very closely: only impermanence lasts. The floating world, too, will pass. - Ikkyū Sojun I choose thee as my next summer reading. Aug 22, 19

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jason Arias

    I've read this book from cover to cover over a number of days, from the introduction through the thoughtfully curated poems to the last poet's bio. It sits on the side table next to the radio in the living room, where I drink coffee in the morning. Before beginning each day I would read a bit more. And now that I've finished reading The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy I will continue to keep it next to the radio in the living room. Continue to read it with my coffee. Finding somethi I've read this book from cover to cover over a number of days, from the introduction through the thoughtfully curated poems to the last poet's bio. It sits on the side table next to the radio in the living room, where I drink coffee in the morning. Before beginning each day I would read a bit more. And now that I've finished reading The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy I will continue to keep it next to the radio in the living room. Continue to read it with my coffee. Finding something different with every reading. A small meditation before every new start. A lingering smile in every morning.

  7. 4 out of 5

    John

    An excellent collection of Eastern and Western poets, some well-known and others obscure. It regards, essentially, poetry that can fill blank spaces in the mind or spaces occupied by thoughts that are not in the moment. The poems are mostly short ones and are not difficult. The Eastern poems get right to the point. Poetry anthologies can be problematic; the yearly "Best of" editions are merely poems favored by that year's editor rather than what is "best." Avoid those anthologies and stick to one An excellent collection of Eastern and Western poets, some well-known and others obscure. It regards, essentially, poetry that can fill blank spaces in the mind or spaces occupied by thoughts that are not in the moment. The poems are mostly short ones and are not difficult. The Eastern poems get right to the point. Poetry anthologies can be problematic; the yearly "Best of" editions are merely poems favored by that year's editor rather than what is "best." Avoid those anthologies and stick to ones that offer a unifying theme that tie the poems together. That has been achieved by this collection and thus easily merits five stars.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Gill

    'The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness and Joy' edited by John Brehm 4 stars/ 8 out of 10 I have always been interested in poetry, so was interested in reading this themed anthology. The book opens with an interesting introduction by John Brehm, and then leads into three sections of poetry, arranged by the themes outlined in the title. I enjoyed the wide selection of poetry in this volume. There were authors I already knew such as Elizabeth Bishop and Pablo Neruda, and also many that were new to 'The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness and Joy' edited by John Brehm 4 stars/ 8 out of 10 I have always been interested in poetry, so was interested in reading this themed anthology. The book opens with an interesting introduction by John Brehm, and then leads into three sections of poetry, arranged by the themes outlined in the title. I enjoyed the wide selection of poetry in this volume. There were authors I already knew such as Elizabeth Bishop and Pablo Neruda, and also many that were new to me. I liked the fact that so many of the poems were in translation (primarily from Japanese, Chinese and Polish). My favourite poems were 'The Day Lady Died' by Frank O'Hara and 'Aware' by Denise Levertov. I was very pleased that there were poems by Wisława Szymborska. There were several poets whose work I will now follow up. The book ends with an appendix regarding Mindful Reading, followed by very interesting and detailed biographical notes about each of the poets whose work appears in this anthology. Thank you to Wisdom Publications and to NetGalley for an ARC.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    This collection of poetry could be enjoyed by poetry lovers who like themes or people who have a practice or goal of mindfulness. It is probably best dipped into from time to time, so of course I read it cover to cover. Ah well. I loved that contemporary poets were included in the mix along with translations of 9th century cheeky Chinese poets. There is a wide variety of perspectives and styles. Some favorites: "I never longed for the wilder side of life. Rivers and mountains were my friends...." ( This collection of poetry could be enjoyed by poetry lovers who like themes or people who have a practice or goal of mindfulness. It is probably best dipped into from time to time, so of course I read it cover to cover. Ah well. I loved that contemporary poets were included in the mix along with translations of 9th century cheeky Chinese poets. There is a wide variety of perspectives and styles. Some favorites: "I never longed for the wilder side of life. Rivers and mountains were my friends...." (-Ryokan, [Untitled]) "...our home which defines us is elsewhere but not so far away we have forgotten it; this is just a place." (-A.R. Ammons, "In Memoriam Mae Noblitt") "...Release, release..." (-Ruth Stone, "Train Ride") "I Don't Know How a Day Flew By Us" by Anna Kamienska "Coolness- the sound of the bell as it leaves the bell." (-Yosa Buson) "...Loneliness clarifies. Here silence stands Like heat...." (-Philip Larkin, "Here") "Horses" by Pablo Neruda "...And then I would like to know how to live with nothing. Not memory. Nor the taste of the words I have willed you whisper into my mouth." (-Tracy K. Smith, "Credulity") "...But those who hope for nothing Are glad for whatever comes." (-Fernando Pessoa) "Don't say my hut has nothing to offer: come and I will share with you the cool breeze that fills my window." (-Ryokan) Thanks to the publisher for providing an early copy through NetGalley

  10. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    I’m starting my journey towards finding new life in poetry after reading Matthew Zapruder’s Why Poetry; the first on my list was this collection of poems that resonate with another habit I’m trying to cultivate, mindfulness. I tried to read each poem with the idea of not trying to wring the “meaning” out from it, but just enjoy it. Well, I had mixed success, but there were a few poems that struck me as absolutely amazing. Anything by Ryokan, William Carlos Williams, A.R. Ammons, Pablo Neruda, Ro I’m starting my journey towards finding new life in poetry after reading Matthew Zapruder’s Why Poetry; the first on my list was this collection of poems that resonate with another habit I’m trying to cultivate, mindfulness. I tried to read each poem with the idea of not trying to wring the “meaning” out from it, but just enjoy it. Well, I had mixed success, but there were a few poems that struck me as absolutely amazing. Anything by Ryokan, William Carlos Williams, A.R. Ammons, Pablo Neruda, Ron Padgett, and Wislawa Szymborska left me rereading the poem at least thrice. They were all very, very good. There were some others that stuck out to me as well, but those six are the authors that I’m going to look around for their own works. There were a few poems that I thought were especially captivating: Ryokan’s I never longed for the wilder side of life and First Days of Spring – The Sky William Carlos Williams’ The Widow’s Lament in Springtime A. R. Ammons’ In Memoriam Mae Noblitt, Reflective, and Stills Pablo Neruda’s Ode to a Dead Carob Tree Rod Padgett’s Dog Wislawa Szymbnorska’s Not Title Required and Miracle Fair And that’s just to name a few! In the Appendices, the book also goes into detail about what it means to Brehm to read poetry mindfully, and he breaks down some sound meditation techniques as well.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I had to mark it as read, although one never truly "finishes" this book. What a wonderful collection of poems! I have been returning to it repeatedly whenever I need a moment to ground myself. Several poets are new to me, and I appreciate the introduction via the editor's choice of work. Well curated work and marvellous to read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Katrina Sark

    Introduction p.xiii – No poem can last for long unless it speaks, even of obliquely, to some essential human concern. Tu Fu’s poem about the pathos of ruins at Jade Flower Palace, which opens this anthology, has lasted more than thirteen centuries, reminding us that impermanence is one of poetry’s oldest themes, perhaps the oldest. p.xiv – “Death is the mother of beauty,” as Wallace Stevens would put it a thousand years later. There are other sources of inspiration, of course, but none more ancie Introduction p.xiii – No poem can last for long unless it speaks, even of obliquely, to some essential human concern. Tu Fu’s poem about the pathos of ruins at Jade Flower Palace, which opens this anthology, has lasted more than thirteen centuries, reminding us that impermanence is one of poetry’s oldest themes, perhaps the oldest. p.xiv – “Death is the mother of beauty,” as Wallace Stevens would put it a thousand years later. There are other sources of inspiration, of course, but none more ancient or enduring than the pang that accompanies our experience of loss – and our uniquely human foreknowledge of loss. p.xvi – Ellen Bass asks the provocative question, “What if you knew you’d be the last / to touch someone? / What would people look like / if we would see them as they are, / soaked in honey, strung and swollen, / reckless, pinned against time?” p.xvii – Ajahn Chah and Tsunetomo make explicit the underlying premise of this anthology: that mindfulness of impermanence leads to joy. Living in the full knowledge that everything changes everything. It loosens our grasp and lets the world become what it truly is, a source of amazement and amusement. Han Shan says: “Once you realize this floating life is the perfect mirage of change, / it’s breathtaking – this wild joy at wandering boundless and free.” Impermanence p.3 – Tu Fu (712-770) Jade Flower Palace (translated from Chinese by Kenneth Rexroth) The stream swirls. The wind moans in The pines. Grey rats scurry over Broken tiles. What prince, long ago, Built this palace, standing in Ruins beside the cliffs? There are Green ghost fires in the black rooms. The shattered pavements are all Washed away. Ten thousand organ Pipes whistle and roar. The storm Scatters the red autumn leaves. His dancing girls are yellow dust. Their painted cheeks have crumbled Away. His gold chariots And courtiers are gone. Only A stone horse is left of his Glory. I sit on the grass and Start a poem, but the pathos of It overcomes me. The future Slips imperceptibly away. Who can say what the years will bring? p.4 – Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) (translated from the Japanese by Lucien Stryk and Takashi Ikemoto) summer grasses – all that remain of warrior’s dreams p.29 – Ellen Bass (1947-) If You Knew What if you knew you’d be the last to touch someone? If you were taking tickets, for example, at the theatre, tearing them, giving back the ragged stubs, you might take care to touch that palm, brush your fingertips along the life line’s crease. When a man pulls his wheeled suitcase too slowly through the airport, when the car in front of me doesn’t signal, when the clerk at the pharmacy won’t say Thank you, I don’t remember they’re going to die. A friend told me she’d been with her aunt. They’d just had lunch and the waiter, a young gay man with plum black eyes, joked as he served the coffee, kissed her aunt’s powdered cheek when they left. Then they walked half a block and her aunt dropped dead on the sidewalk. How close does the dragon’s spume have to come? How wide does the crack in heaven have to split? What would people look like If we could see them as they are, Soaked in honey, sting and swollen, Reckless, pinned against time?

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Spuckler

    The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy edited by John Brehm is a collection of Eastern and Western poets. Brehm was educated at the University of Nebraska and Cornell University. He is the author of Sea of Faith, which won the 2004 Brittingham Prize, and Help Is on the Way (2012), winner of the Four Lakes Prize from the University of Wisconsin Press. What seems to be a simple book of poetry is really profound in its purpose. The idea of mindful reading is explained in the appendix acts The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy edited by John Brehm is a collection of Eastern and Western poets. Brehm was educated at the University of Nebraska and Cornell University. He is the author of Sea of Faith, which won the 2004 Brittingham Prize, and Help Is on the Way (2012), winner of the Four Lakes Prize from the University of Wisconsin Press. What seems to be a simple book of poetry is really profound in its purpose. The idea of mindful reading is explained in the appendix acts as a guide to get deeper into the poetry. The poetry presented in each of the three sections, Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy, are from a wide range of poets and styles. Poems from ancient Chinese and Japanese poets are present as well as modern poets from Poland, England, and the United States. A reader may be surprised to find two poems from Philip Larkin, a poet who seems very out of place with his glum outlook. Impermanence poems look at the world and ourselves and how eventually everything degrades. Ryokan seeks a timeless truth and discovers "the flower's glory is just another form of dust." Our lives also degrade and end and explained in Larkin's Ambulances. Anna Kamienska examines life and how life flies by us: and closed with a word like a lake with ice winter passed snows melted the suns appeared and saw after the winter that scar on the earth your grave. Mindfulness tells of the world around us that we often miss or the beauty of the most mundane things. Yosa Buson contributes: Coolness -- the sound of the bell as it leaves the bell These are poems intended to make the reader aware of the things and life around him that he rarely sees or notices. Frank O'Hara in a "Step Away from Them" is a recording of his experience during a lunch time walk. There are things that we pay no mind to like the Coke in a construction worker's hands, stray cats, and people and posters on the street. This is perhaps the most enlightening section of the collection. We are so caught up in our own life, or now our phones, we do not notice what is right in front of us. Joy is self-explanatory. There is the joy in watching children imitate cranes or sitting beneath a tree or under the moon. Whitman tells of a lecture by a learned astronomer who talks with columns of figures and diagrams. Whitman, discouraged by this, walks out and takes in the night sky in all its visual wonder and enjoys it in silence. Fernando Pessoa writes: On those for whom happiness Is the sun, night will fall. But those who hope for nothing Are glad for whatever comes. The Poetry of Impermanence is a thought-provoking collection designed to make the reader think and in many instances simplify and slow down. The appendix also includes short biographies of all the poets along with a source guide for all the poems used in the collection. The collection uses many sources to show that the Buddhist truths, like many things, are all around us if we take the time to notice. A well-done selection with poems from many different sources converging on three simple points.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bobby

    After having read volume after volume of books by single poets, I'm finding it to be a refreshing change to mix it up with a couple of anthologies like this one. Here we have a wonderful collection of poems that the editor has arranged according to the three themes of the title, poems that originate across thousands of miles and even thousands of years. I found the section focused on mindfulness to be the strongest of the three sections. However, overall I did not think that this anthology was q After having read volume after volume of books by single poets, I'm finding it to be a refreshing change to mix it up with a couple of anthologies like this one. Here we have a wonderful collection of poems that the editor has arranged according to the three themes of the title, poems that originate across thousands of miles and even thousands of years. I found the section focused on mindfulness to be the strongest of the three sections. However, overall I did not think that this anthology was quite as strong as another anthology I read recently, Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems. I'd recommend reading both of these volumes if the concept of mindfulness being articulated through poetry appeals to you.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carly O'Connell

    I still don't quite know how to enjoy a book of poetry. I read a few poems a day over the course of months, trying to really sit with each poem and not just race through in order to mark this book read on my Goodreads list. Some of the poems I enjoyed, some of them I did not. I am familiar with the Chinese poets Tu Fu and Li Po from my Tang Poetry class in college, but they lose so much in translation I had trouble appreciating them here. I suspect that many other of the translated poems have th I still don't quite know how to enjoy a book of poetry. I read a few poems a day over the course of months, trying to really sit with each poem and not just race through in order to mark this book read on my Goodreads list. Some of the poems I enjoyed, some of them I did not. I am familiar with the Chinese poets Tu Fu and Li Po from my Tang Poetry class in college, but they lose so much in translation I had trouble appreciating them here. I suspect that many other of the translated poems have the same issue. I wish I had read the essay at the end on "mindful reading" first, so that I could have been applying it as I made my way through the book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Patti K

    This 2017 anthology contains a multitude of voices. Some old voices as well as new--a challenging variety to enjoy. William Stafford: "What the river says, that is what I say." Han Shan's wisdom, also known as Cold Mountain, Philip Larkin, "Deprivation is for me what daffodils were to Wordsworth." And Yeats: "We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." Enjoy!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Johnson

    The poems selected for this book reveal the lovely and heart-warming aspects of some of the more dreary and uncomfortable aspects of life. By reading through these poems in order, you are trained to positively embrace change; to stay mindful of both reality and possibility; and to see joy in the most unexpected of places. This collection of poems is highly recommended for anyone searching for more out of life.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Karlen

    *I received an ARC of this book on NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.* I don't know much about poetry, but I have been trying to expand my horizons a bit. This was a beautiful collection of poems by various authors, organized into three thematic sections. The first part, regarding impermanence, was particularly evocative for me.

  19. 5 out of 5

    JAnn Bowers

    This anthology of poetry has to be one of the greatest anthology I have read in a long time. Its diversity grasps the soul and wakens the mind with its poets and their tender words about mindfulness and life's beauty. I received this book through NetGalley as a honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Paoletta

    I have been introduced to a few of my favorite poems and poets of all time through this easy to carry around paperback book of poetry. It is one of my favorite collections and I highly recommend it. I especially enjoyed the individual author bios in the back section which share a bit about each of the contributing poets.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    The day after Rutger Hauer’s death brings these poetic words to mind: “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe! Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve seen C-Beams glitter in the dark in Tannjauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”

  22. 4 out of 5

    Satsuki Shibuya

    I wasn’t sure what to expect, but loved the beautifully curated selection with a focus on mindfulness, life, and impermanence. For those looking for a poetry book of different perspectives, patterns, rhythms, and colors, this book may be for you.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kasandra

    An excellent little book, full of classics and gems. I particularly enjoyed the large amount of Zen poetry and the re-introduction to William Stafford, among others. Highly recommended, and great for pre-sleep reading or anytime you need a short break/breather/respite from the world.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rural Sellers

    Anthologies can be dicey affairs, but this one seems to hit it pretty well. There were some poems that I thought "How can he leave out this..." (e.g. he deliberately avoids Mary Oliver) but the wealth of new (to me) poems and poets more than made up for that.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nan

    Great little collection. So many dog eared pages. I'll never be quite done with reading it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Suzyharris

    A small and powerful anthology to keep by your bed to get you through hard times and good times alike.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    Will review soon.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Champiet

    Great reading of The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy by John Brehm. This is an awesome collection of great poetic works by many of my favorite writers. https://wp.me/p6x6FQ-k8 Great reading of The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy by John Brehm. This is an awesome collection of great poetic works by many of my favorite writers. https://wp.me/p6x6FQ-k8

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn

    This is my first read through of the full collection; spread over one or two poems each morning. Uplifting, inspiring, enjoyable.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Anatoly Molotkov

    Thanks to John Brehm for assembling so many moving poems under one cover. A great selection in a beautiful edition.

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