Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

Although Lucien Stryk (strihk) is known for his significant work as a poet—A. Poulin, Jr., included Stryk’s work in several editions of the influential anthology Contemporary American Poetry—Stryk has also made innumerable contributions in his work as a translator, editor, and commentator on the importance of Zen philosophy and the art created by those who follow such a philosophy. As a translator, Stryk worked diligently, along with his frequent collaborator Takashi Ikemoto, to shed light on the work of important Zen masters such as Shinkichi Takahashi, Issa, and Matsuo Bash. Some of his most significant work as a translator is found in Zen: Poems, Prayers, Sermons, Anecdotes, Interviews (1965); Afterimages: Zen Poems of Shinkichi Takahashi (1970); Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter (1977); Traveler, My Name: Haiku of Basho (1985); Triumph of the Sparrow: Zen Poems of Shinkichi Takahashi (1986); and The Dumpling Field: Haiku of Issa (1991). As a Zen Buddhist commentator and practitioner as well as cultural historian, Stryk has created work that has proved to be vitally important in opening up a space first for the study of Zen and later for its celebration. Work relating to Zen Buddhist thought and art may be found in such volumes as World of Buddha: An Introduction to Buddhist Literature (1968) and Encounter with Zen: Writings on Poetry and Zen (1981). In his role as editor, Stryk is best known for his celebration of place, specifically the Midwest, in two collections that highlighted the work of emerging and established poets. Heartland: Poets of the Midwest (1967) and Heartland II: Poets of the Midwest (1975) continue to define the study of poetry in this region. Stryk also edited The Gift of Great Poetry (1992), demonstrating his range both as a poet and as a teacher.