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URTHONA Buddhist arts magazine

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 Explore art & culture from a Buddhist perspective

Welcome to Urthona magazine, taking its name from William Blake’s zoa or archetypal spirit of the creative imagination Urthona blends a Romantic concern with inner and outer spiritual freedom with the insights of the Buddhist East.

Click on MENU items above for online features on Literature, Art & Society, Fine Arts & more. Access all 35 printed back issues at URTHONA SHOP. More on our vision at ABOUT URTHONA link above. Scroll down for EDITOR’S BLOG – musings on art, landscape and spirit of place.


CURRENT issue (35) E-Mag: American Zen

Full contents below. The American Zen issue investigates the influence of Zen Buddhism on American letters and fine arts, from Pound to Cage via Abstract Expressionism.


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Current Issue American Zen – order CLICK HERE

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NB The American Zen issue (35) is only a available as digital download due to Covid restrictions. Issue 35 explores the dynamic encounter between American culture and Buddhism, especially Zen in the mid 20th century. From John Cage, to Beat poets Ginsberg & Snyder plus Abstract Expressionist painters such as Mark Tobey. In fact many of the most iconic figures of American arts are on these pages. Contents includes: * The Crack of Vision: Buddhist influenced poetry in North America – Pound to Snyder. * Fine new poetry from Dhivan, Paramananda, Rachel Jagger, Penny Hope and many others. * Rothko: Horizons, Emptiness and Perfect Vision by Donal Mac Erlaine. * Zen and Abstract Expressionism. * Ginsberg and the Beats – a personal memoire of 50s California from Acarasiddhi. * Gary Gach on Bresson’s Diary of a Country Priest. * Fascinating abstract art from Abhayavajra in Suffolk…

If Romanticism did away with the notion of art as a mirror, D. T. Suzuki introduced another mirror to the discussion: the Zen mirror, an ubiquitous symbol of the clear mind reflecting reality as it is… Suzuki wants it both ways: he asserts the value of originality and creative particularity but insists that this should be neither personal, as the Romanticist claimed, nor social, as many contemporary thinkers argue, but should be based on an immediate access to and representation of reality that transcends the personal and the social.

This quote from David L. McMahon’s groundbreaking study The Making of Buddhist Modernism sums up the encounter between a modernism still deeply indebted to Romanticism and a vision of Zen shorn of its normal cultural and ethical context. This attempt to discover the deepest truth of the everyday, of ‘this very life we are living’ in the words of John Cage, who was profoundly influenced by the writings of D. T. Suzuki, is the topic of our 35th issue. Here we explore the transformative encounter of Buddhism, especially Zen, with 20th century poetry and painting.

Urthona’s Vision

Urthona, appearing once a year, is a lavishly illustrated, 68 page,  glossy magazine: with original and inspired poetry, fine art & photography features, reviews plus in depth articles on a fascinating theme chosen for each issue. Themes have included Indian Art, Romanticism, Art & Ecology, Writing as a sacred art…

We explore art, literature, culture and imagination from a modern Buddhist perspective. Our inspirations are William Blake and the Romantics, the zen poets of Japan, symbolists, psychonauts and radicals of all ages and climes.   

Editor’s blog: musings on art, literature & spirit of place – scroll down this page.

On top menu above: click ‘ABOUT URTHONA + CONTACTS‘ for more on our vision.

On top menu above: find links to feature pages for longer online essays / art features on many dimensions of art and the sacred for the 21st century.


BELOW: Editor’s blog posts – musings on art, photography, poetry, literature & spirit of place…

American Zen – new issue published

Issue 35 just out: American Zen investigates the influence of Zen Buddhism on American letters and fine arts, from Pound to Cage via Abstract Expressionism.

Available as E-mag only due to Covid. Go to URTHONA SHOP on top menu to purchase. Click cover image here for FREE 7 page sample of full 72 pages.

Three Cosmogenic Myths

Just Published: from Ratnagarbha, an in depth essay of comparative mythology in the spirit of Joseph Campbell, comparing the foundational cosmic mythos of Buddhism, Platonism and Gnosticism. A fascinating look at how ancient stories about the origin of the cosmos have influenced different civilisations.

https://urthona.com/culture-science-society/three-cosmogenic-myths/

Auden for now?

https://www.lbc.org.uk/information/poetry-east.html

Coming up on the 15th of February at Poetry East, the London Buddhist Centre, an exploration of Auden’s great poem of political fears and disenchantment: ‘September 1st, 1939’, with Ian Samson who has recently published a book dedicated to an in-depth exploration of the poem.

 

But what would that great poet of political engagement in the twentieth century have made of the current state of the world? Would it have brought out the ambivalently committed English socialist of the earlier years, or the Christian humanitarian Auden of maturity? Would he have understood that modern right wing populism is not quite the same thing as the fascism that he knew, and proceeded to dissect the differences and similarities with prophetic brilliance?

A partial answer to these impossible questions is provided for me at any rate by the still pertinent introduction to Faber’s 1979 selection of Auden by Edward Mendelson:

” In Auden’s unbroken vision of history, the ancient discontents survived in contemporary forms, but so did the ancient sources of personal and literary vitality. Modernism, disenfranchised from the past by its own sense of isolated modernity, could bring  literary tradition into the present only as battered ironic fragments as in Eliot or by visionary heroic efforts like Pound’s to ‘make it new’. For Auden, it had never grown old. A laconic old English toughness survived in his poetry as did an Augustan civility…. Modernism tended to look back toward the reigns of a native aristocracy, too often it found the reflected glory of ancient tradition in political leaders who promised to restore social grandeur and unity through coercive Force. Auden’s refusal to idealize the past saved him from comparable fits of mistaken generosity. His poems and essays present the idea of the good society as, at best, a possibility never actually to be achieved, but towards which one must always work.’

 

 

 

Black Mountain Blues

Optic Nerve is a Blakean project based in South London. Largely self-funded they are producing fascinating videos about poetry and contemporary music. Especially the black mountain poets and the Objectivist poets of 20th century America. And from Britain material on Elaine Feinstein – her ‘Song of Power’. I also highly recommend the interview with ‘the last living Objectivist’ Carl Rokosi in the ‘current projects’ section. There is much excellent work here in progress much of it needing funding to continue…

Optic Nerve

 

American Zen issue

Urthona goes zen for our next issue due out next summer. American Zen. Buddhism and in particular Zen have had a profound influence on on American arts and literature over the last 100 years. We plan to cover:

* Buddhism and American poetry from Ezra Pound to Jane Hirshfield. And the Beats of course.

* Zen and Abstract Expressionism.

* Interview with a contemporary master of Zen brush painting.

Reconstructionary Tales

Modern literature; occasional straying into other paths.

Norfolk Tales, Myths & More!

Stories From Norfolk and Beyond - Be They Past, Present, Fact, Fiction, Mythological, Legend or Folklore.

Wood Bee Poet

Poems, thoughts...etc.

Shiny New Books

What to Read Next and Why

adcochrane

Curiosities, exploration, strange things and history

The smell of water

Dark and True and Tender is the North

Julian Beach :: Writing

Poems | England | Staffordshire | East Anglia | Northern Ireland | The Needwood Poems.

kindledspirit.com.au

Essays on Art, Poetry and Literature as tools for spiritual transformation

heritagelandscapecreativity

Exploring Time Travel of Place

dianajhale

Recent work and work in progress and anything else that interests me

Richly Evocative

Places, books & other diversions

Writing the World

Nature writing for the ecological crisis

The Solitary Walker

Essays on Art, Poetry and Literature as tools for spiritual transformation

Psychogeographic Review

The Art of Psychogeography

Particulations

Essays on Art, Poetry and Literature as tools for spiritual transformation

dianajhale

Recent work and work in progress and anything else that interests me

Brian David Stevens

Essays on Art, Poetry and Literature as tools for spiritual transformation

Murdo Eason - From Hill to Sea

walking / writing / between world and word

geo poetry –

Reviews and essays on poetry, art and landscape

Matthew Kunce Photography

A journey into photography and life.