Lucien Stryk Analysis

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.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Although Lucien Stryk has not won many major awards, he has received numerous grants, including a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, a Ford Foundation Fellowship, a Fulbright grant and lectureship, and a National Institute of Arts and Letters award. For his work as a translator, Stryk received the Islands and Continents Translation Award for The Penguin Book of Zen Poetry (1977).


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Abbot, Craig S., ed. “Lucien Stryk: A Bibliography.” Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography 5, nos. 3/4(1991). A comprehensive bibliography. Abbot includes sections that chronicle Stryk’s career as a poet, reviewer, and critic.

Krapf, Norbert. “Discovering Lucien Stryk’s Heartland.” Eclectic Literary Forum 5, no. 4 (Winter, 1995): 50-52. A close look at Stryk as an editor, particularly of Heartland, and his relevance to the Midwest.

Porterfield, Susan. “Portrait of a Poet as a Young Man: Lucien Stryk.” Midwestern Miscellany 22 (1994): 36-45. An examination of Stryk as a young adult, with emphasis on his Midwest upbringing.

_______, ed. Zen, Poetry, the Art of Lucien Stryk. Athens, Ga.: Swallow Press and Ohio University Press, 1993. An extensive collection of essays by Stryk on the making of poems and the study of poetry, Zen Buddhist thought, and the act of translation. It also includes two interviews with Stryk and four critical essays originally published in academic journals. The volume concludes with a selection of Stryk’s poetry.

Stryk, Lucien. “’Wherever I Am’: An Interview with Lucien Stryk.” Interview by T. F. Davis. Interdisciplinary Literary Studies 6, no. 5 (2005): 102-116. Stryk discusses Zen Buddhism and its influence on his writings in this interview.