When You Greet Me, I Bow
A conversation with Norman Fischer
Norman Fischer is a Zen priest, poet, and author whose writings, teachings, and commitment to interfaith dialogue have supported and inspired Buddhist, Jewish, and other spiritual practitioners for decades. In this podcast, we discuss a new collection of his essays titled When You Greet Me I Bow. It spans the entirety of Norman’s career and is the first collection of his writings on Buddhist philosophy and practice. Broken into four sections—the joy and catastrophe of relationship; thinking, writing, and emptiness; cultural encounters; and social engagement—this book allows us to see the fascinating development of the mind and interests of a gifted writer and profoundly committed practitioner.
A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Norman Fischer has been publishing poetry since 1979. He holds an MFA from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop and a masters from the Graduate Theological Union at the University of California at Berkeley. Norman has been a Zen Buddhist priest for nearly 30 years, serving as abbot for the San Francisco Zen Center from 1995-2000. Founder and teacher of the Everyday Zen Foundation, he is one of the most highly respected Zen teachers in America, regularly leading Zen Buddhist retreats and events.
Norman has published seventeen books of poetry and six books on Zen. His poetry has been anthologized in The Wisdom Anthology of North American Poetry, Basta Azzez enough, and many literary magazines including Jacket, Talisman, Facture, Tin Fish, Periodics, Mag City, Your Stuff, Bezoar, Rocky Ledge, Hills, Raddle Moon, Nocturnes(Re)view, Bombay Gin, Gallery Works, Antenym, and Crayon, among others. He was a primary contributor to Benedict’s Dharma: Buddhists Reflect on the Rule of Saint Benedict, edited by Patrick Henry (Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, 2001).
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