Crowded by Beauty: The Life and Zen of Poet Philip Whalen

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Univ of California Press, Jul 26, 2015 - Religion - 352 pages
Philip Whalen was an American poet, Zen Buddhist, and key figure in the literary and artistic scene that unfolded in San Francisco in the 1950s and ’60s. When the Beat writers came West, Whalen became a revered, much-loved member of the group. Erudite, shy, and profoundly spiritual, his presence not only moved his immediate circle of Beat cohorts, but his powerful, startling, innovative work would come to impact American poetry to the present day.

Drawing on Whalen’s journals and personal correspondence—particularly with Ginsberg, Kerouac, Snyder, Kyger, Welch, and McClure —David Schneider shows how deeply bonded these intimates were, supporting one another in their art and their spiritual paths. Schneider, himself an ordained priest, provides an insider’s view of Whalen’s struggles and breakthroughs in his thirty years as a Zen monk. When Whalen died in 2002 as the retired Abbot of the Hartford Street Zen Center, his own teacher referred to him as a patriarch of the Western lineage of Buddhism. Crowded by Beauty chronicles the course of Whalen’s life, focusing on his unique, eccentric, humorous, and literary-religious practice.
 

Contents

1 Reflection in Friends
1
Whalen and Ginsberg
9
Whalen and Kerouac
32
Whalen and Snyder
51
Whalen and Kyger
96
Whalen and McClure
127
19231943
146
Army Life 19431946
160
19651971
205
Whalen and Baker Zen Center
223
Ordination
237
Santa Fe and Dharma Transmission
254
Hartford Street Decline and Death
267
Acknowledgments
287
Notes
291
Primary Sources
313

19461951
168
19591971
188

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About the author (2015)

David Schneider is the author of Street Zen: The Life and Work of Issan Dorsey. He was ordained as a Zen priest in 1977 and was made an acharya of the Shambhala lineage in 1995.

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