Montreal Zen Poetry Festival 2009

February 12, 2009

For immediate release

Montreal Zen Poetry Festival 2009

Forget the words!

Guests from across Canada and the U.S. will gather March 6-8, for the Montreal Zen Poetry Festival, a program of readings, workshops, seminars and panel discussions presented in various venues around downtown and the Plateau.

This year’s featured Zen poets include Peter Levitt, Zen teacher and long-time poet and translator from Salt Spring Island, Chase Twichell, poet and founder of Ausable Press in upstate New York, and Shin Yu Pai, a young poet, visual artist and collaborator from Seattle. Also joining us will be Seido Ray Ronci, a Missouri-based Zen monk, poet and musician.

We welcome back our special guest Red Pine, a prolific and widely respected translator ff classical Chinese literature (as well as a wonderful storyteller), from Port Townsend, Wash. Translator-poet David Hinton will travel from Vermont to join us for the festival.

He has earned wide acclaim for recreating the classical Chinese poetry tradition as compelling contemporary poetry that accurately conveys the texture and density of the originals.

Dennis Maloney, founder of White Pine Press in Buffalo, N.Y., will contribute as a translator, a tanka poet and a small press editor and publisher. Stephen Addiss, a worldrenowned calligrapher and a leading authority on Japanese art, as well as a musician, poet, translator and painter, will involve us in his love for haiga, a visual form that links poetry and painting.

The biennial Montreal Zen Poetry Festival is fast becoming a must-attend cultural event. Launched in 2007 under the auspices of Enpuku-ji/Centre Zen de la Main, a Rinzai Zen practice center in the Plateau, the festival draws on the deep interconnection of Zen and poetry as it aims to bring an awareness of Zen and Zen culture to a wider audience.

The theme of this year’s program – Forget the words! – is also the title of a translation panel that will be moderated by Erín Moure, one of Canada’s most eminent poets. The line, taken from a verse by Chuang Tzu, the Chinese Taoist philosopher, alludes to the interdependence of language and meaning, a familiar issue for writers.

This year, festival-goers will be invited to begin each morning with Zen meditation. The daily schedule of activities includes a writing workshop with Peter Levitt, in collaboration with the Quebec Writers’ Federation, and a collaborative poetry workshop with Shin Yu Pai.

David Hinton will deliver the Paul Hsiang Lecture, sponsored by McGill University’s Centre for East Asian Studies. Meanwhile, Zen monk-scholar Victor Sogen Hori will host an evening of Poetry: Memory and Dharma, with Chase Twichell and Peter Levitt.

The festival will close with a literary/visual brunch at Soupesoup, a smart restaurant in Old Montreal. Shin Yu Pai and Stephen Addiss will present their work, which bridges poetry and visual arts.

Contact person:


Enpuku-ji/Centre Zen de la Main