Soka Gakkai International
Buddhism in Action for Peace
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Sonoma, California, USA, May 18, 2005: Fighting for Peace, a collection of poems by Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda (Dunhill Publishing), has been selected as one of three finalists for the Publishers Marketing Association’s 2005 Benjamin Franklin Award in the poetry category. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in New York City on June 1.
In the collection Ikeda uses starkly simple language to bring readers face-to-face with the horrors of war and to expose the underlying human psychology that drives our species to organized mass violence.
From his own experience of growing up in war-torn Japan, Ikeda projects empathetically into the shared experience of people caught up in the vortex of war.
“Vacant stares fixed
on piteous, desolate ruin.
For what purpose
have we lived?
To what end
this violent strife?
The only response
is the howling
of an infinitely empty wind.”
He also analyzes the human predicament through the lens of Buddhism and offers a prescription that is ultimately one of empowerment.
“The feeble voice that
once flowed seeping
from our chests
has changed unrecognizably—
into swelling cadences
of gravity and conviction.”
Simon Warwick-Smith, president of Dunhill Publishing, comments: “Of course we are thrilled. Ikeda’s poetry has a powerful message for the world that is needed now more than ever.”
Renowned African-American writer Ishmael Reed, who wrote the book’s Foreword and over the past year has performed Ikeda’s poetry with such jazz greats as Gary Bartz and Patience Higgins, says Ikeda “speaks for the millions of people who have become frustrated with the lethal shenanigans of the world’s politicians.”
Named in honor of America’s most cherished publisher/printer, the Benjamin Franklin Award recognizes excellence in independent publishing.
related article SGI Buddhist Associations Throughout Asia Respond to Tsunami Disaster Asian branches of SGI, one of the world's largest lay Buddhist associations, are mobilizing financial and human resources to respond to the catastrophic tsunami which devastated large parts of the region on December 26, 2004. Daisaku Ikeda is president of the Soka Gakkai International, a lay Buddhist association dedicated to peace, education and cultural exchange, and has been named a poet laureate by the World Academy of Arts and Culture. Ikeda is a prolific author in numerous genres, but Fighting for Peace is only the second book of his poems in English translation.
SOURCE: DUNHILL PUBLISHING
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