“Paintings of Rice Cakes is a mature work by an important American Buddhist poet. Lyrical, tough, and illuminating, these poems are the kind of nourishment this hungry world needs.” — Leslie Staub, author of Bless This House
The collection of new writing in Paintings of Rice Cakes Satisfy Hunger comprises much of Steve Kanji Ruhl’s strongest work to date.
Earlier in his career, Pulitzer Prize-winner and U.S. Poet Laureate William Meredith wrote, “The words of these poems seem to cup and contain the experience like the hands of a craftsman who loves his material. The language is strong and delicate simultaneously. I can’t think of any more accurate word for the poems than beautiful. He says off-handed things which are hard to forget.”
May Swenson, winner of the Bollingen Prize and a MacArthur “genius award” and acclaimed by eminent critic Harold Bloom as one of the major American poets of the 20th century, wrote that Steve Kanji Ruhl’s “poems are very fine…they are complex but clear, infused with flashes of self-revelation. They make use of language in the instinctive way that marks a true poet. ‘The astonishment of being in this world’ — a line from one of the poems — is what he conveys so well.”
John Balaban, acclaimed poet and translator, winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, the Lemont Poetry Prize, and finalist for the National Book Award, wrote that Steve Kanji Ruhl’s poems are “strong, self-sufficient, well-made, rich in imagery and in rhythm.”
Steve Kanji Ruhl’s poems have won awards and been published in numerous magazines. He is the author of The Constant Yes of Things: Selected Poems 1973-2018 (Off the Common Books). He also is an authorized dharma holder and preceptor in the Zen tradition, an ordained Zen Buddhist minister, and faculty member in the Shogaku Zen Institute. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Harvard University and teaches widely, including at Yale University, the Omega Institute, Deerfield Academy, and the Rowe Center. He also is the author of Enlightened Contemporaries: Francis, Dogen, and Rumi: Three Great Mystics of the Thirteenth Century and Why They Matter Today (Monkfish Books). www.stevekanjiruhl.com