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Zen and Creative Writing Workshop

Zen and Creative Writing Workshop

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  • Sat 21 Oct ’17, 9:00am – 3:30pm
  • Sun 22 Oct ’17, 9:00am – 3:30pm


Auckland Zen Centre, 52 Princes Street, Onehunga



Ticket Information:

  • Zen and Creative Writing: $150.00
  • Zen and Creative Writing(AZC member): $130.00

During the Labour Day weekend, on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 of October, Richard Von Sturmer will be offering a two-day workshop on Zen and Creative Writing.

Richard has been practicing zen for 35 years and is an acclaimed New Zealand writer. He is well known for having written the lyrics to Blam Blam Blam’s ‘There is No Depression in New Zealand’, which has become the country’s alternate national anthem.

In the 1980s he and his partner, Amala(Charlotte) Wrightson, toured the country as the performing duo, The Humanimals. From 1993 to 2003 he lived and worked at the Rochester Zen Center, a Buddhist community in upstate New York.

During that time his work appeared regularly in literary journals and anthologies. His poetry has been included in An Anthology of New Zealand Poetry (Oxford University Press, 1997), Best New Zealand Poems 2003, Best New Zealand Poems 2006 and Best New Zealand Poems 2008. At the end of 2003 he returned to New Zealand and in 2004 founded the Auckland Zen Centre with Sensei Amala Wrightson.

Six collections of his writing have been published including: A Network of Dissolving Threads (AUP, 1991), Suchness: Zen Poetry and Prose (HeadworX, 2005), Book of Equanimity Verses (Puriri Press, 2013) and This Explains Everything (Atuanui Press, 2016).

The workshop will explore the teachings of Zen and how they can tap into our imaginative processes and bring forth a creative response to our world.

Workshop schedule:

The workshop will be divided into four sessions:
Saturday morning: The Art of Paying Attention
To begin with we’ll look at qualities shared by Zen and haiku, taking lessons from the three great haiku masters: Basho, Buson and Issa. We’ll also discover how haiku can be a way for us to write in the present moment.

Saturday afternoon: Living Words
We’ll take up a selection of ‘living words’ from the Zen tradition and employ them as aids for our writing. We’ll also work with tanka, the five- line verse form, and explore the way tanka can introduce a subjective/emotional perspective into our poems.

Sunday Morning: Words Wish to Speak
This session will focus on the craft of writing and, for a writer, the importance of loving words and bringing forth their potential. We’ll engage in a series of exercises aimed at generating writing.

Sunday Afternoon: Walking or Sitting
We’ll review the ground covered in the preceding sessions. Then there will be the option of either (a) going on a haiku walk around Onehunga, or (b) taking part in a practical introduction to Zen meditation by Sensei Amala Wrightson.

Lunch will be from 12 - 1pm you can bring a packed lunch or visit a local cafe (5-minute walk from the centre).

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