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Sun at Midnight: Poems and Sermons Paperback – November 1, 1989


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Paperback, November 1, 1989
$80.64 $5.57
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 175 pages
  • Publisher: North Point Pr (November 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 086547382X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865473829
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 4.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,421,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Japanese

About the Author

W.S. Merwin won the Pulitzer Prize for his book of poems The Carriers of Ladders. He has published over a dozen other collections, including Finding the Islands and The Rain in the Trees.


Soiku Shigematsu is a noted Zen scholar who has published two other books in English, A Zen Forest: Sayings of the Masters and A Zen Harvest: Japanese Folk Zen Sayings. He is the head priest of Shogen-ji Zen Temple in Shimizu, Japan.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Crazy Fox on May 24, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Right in this very book Muso Soseki (a very important Japanese Zen Rinzai monk of the "Five Mountains" milieu) quotes with approval a former Zen monk saying, "It is a pity that students with great capacity waste their whole lives reading widely in the native and foreign classics, cultivating the art of composition and in that way leaving no time for coming to see clearly into their Original Nature." Thus Muso would be the very last to complain about the fact that this translation of his poems and sermons is clearly intended for the serious American Zen practitioner and not for the scholar (of Japanese Religion, of Buddhism generally or Zen specifically, of Japanese literature, or whatnot). That said, no scholar has yet bothered to come forth with a more academically definitive treatment of this key figure in Zen Buddhist history, so this is it folks, take it or leave it.

Still, a lot of hard work has gone into this book, and it shows. The introduction is very helpful, tracing Muso Soseki's biography with care and giving a very straightforward account of the theory and method of translation in what's to follow. This is an odd collaboration, in which Soiku Shigematsu translated the original text into rough, word-for-word English and Merwin reworked this into smooth, idiomatic English. While this gets the job done okay overall, it creates an odd, stilted syntax bordering perilously close to the unidiomatic in spots--this is true especially for the sermons.

The poems themselves evince a subtle, quiet religiosity. They are elegant, but in a deep and resonant manner (as opposed to some of the more admittedly shallow work of some of his contemporaries).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It looks as though a new edition is on its way. This
book is very high quality, as the Publisher offers
extremely Nice Paper and an overall quality product.
It was produced in respect for the author.
It is a collection of of introspective observations
and musing of a life well lived in the True Way. I
really felt as though I was there at His experiences.
An overall sublime retrospective with a calming
atmosphere. More Poetic than an intense teaching
or Koan filled cuplets.
Muso Soseki was a Giant among hearts.
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