The Way of Poetry
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The Way of Poetry
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John Leonard
November 2010
ISBN 978-1-931483-17-9


This concise, potent essay presents a first comprehensive theory of what Daoist poetry might involve. Beginning with the vision of the ancient classics and informed by Daoist practice, John Leonard searches through poetry from different cultures to find a class of putatively Daoist poetry outside the Chinese tradition. He then suggests ways to recognize its following of the Way and outlines basic principles and guidelines, also including a number of his own poems.

John Leonard argues that Daoism is more relevant now than it ever has been, living as we do in a world society whose demands amount to 130 percent of the Earth's ecological capacity. In this world, poetry inspired by Dao can be a prime way of bringing the Way into contemporary consciousness.

The beauty of the work combined with its inspiring message makes this an easily accessible, highly relevant introduction to the Daoist way of being in the world. It is not only a powerful learning experience and a great pleasure, but also a wonderful gift.

The Author

John Leonard was born in the UK in 1965 and studied English at Oxford. He moved to Australia in 1991 and completed a Ph.D. at the University of Queensland. He has published several four collections of poetry: Unlove, 100 Elegies for Modernity, Jesus in Kashmir, and Braided Lands. His work has been translated into, and published in, French, Croatian, Chinese, and Spanish. He was poetry editor of Overland (Melbourne) from 2003 to 2007. He currently lives in Canberra and works for a government department. He has two sons.