Memory and Dharma – two poets and a scholar monk in conversation at the Montreal Zen Poetry Festival

February 16, 2009

For immediate release

Memory and Dharma – two poets and a scholar monk in conversation at the Montreal Zen Poetry Festival
Come and deal in contradictions and paradoxes as two poets and a Zen monk have a conversation about memory and Dharma. Asking questions as fundamental as What is the self? and What is the nature of time?, the evening will be a foray into some deeply philosophical issues as well as a riveting conversation with two very personable and accomplished poets, Chase Twichell and Peter Levitt.

The practice of Zen is concerned with non-duality and a direct manifestation of the self, and yet so much of Zen poetry has references to memory. How does time come into our notion of the self? The paradox of Zen poetry is that it uses words to express the inexpressible. How can we use language to do this?

The discussion will be led by Professor Victor Sogen Hori of McGill’s Religious Studies Department.

Following the discussion, both Chase Twichell and Peter Levitt will read from their work.

Victor Sōgen Hori is a Rinzai Zen monk, translator and author of Zen Sand: The Book of Capping Phrases for Koan Practice. He has co-edited several books on Buddhism, and is currently Associate Professor of Japanese religions at McGill University.

Peter Levitt is an award-winning writer, poet and writing teacher. He is author of Fingerpainting on the Moon: Writing and Creativity as a Path to Freedom, and ten books of poetry. Formerly an MFA faculty member in poetry at Antioch University, Peter Levitt currently teaches in the UBC Creative Writing Optional Residency Program.

Chase Twichell is a widely published poet, editor and teacher, whose books of poetry include Dog Language (2005), The Snow Watcher (1998) and The Ghost of Eden (1995). Many of Chase’s poems are heavily influenced by her years as a Zen Buddhist student of John Daido Loori at Zen Mountain Monastery. In 1999, Chase founded Ausable Press, which was recently acquired by Copper Canyon Press. She lives in Keene, New York, with her husband, novelist Russell Banks.

When: 7:30pm – Poetry: Memory and Dharma (75 minutes)
Where: Alfred Dallaire Memoria, 4231 Boulevard St Laurent, corner Rachel

Tickets: $15/12(available at the door or on the Montreal Zen Poetry Festival Website)

For full details of this discussion and reading and all other events of the Montreal Zen Poetry Festival, go to:

Contact Person: Myokyo, Enpuku-ji/Centre Zen de la Main 514.842.3648