Richard von Sturmer

Writing workshops

Most years Richard von Sturmer offers a writing workshop at the Auckland Zen Centre, 50-52 Princes Street, Onehunga. 

The workshops explore haiku and tanka, and combine a study of classic and modern Japanese verses along with practical writing exercises. 

Richard has been practicing Zen for 35 years and is an acclaimed New Zealand writer. More about Richard below.

Writing haiku gives us a way of responding to what is happening around us, while tanka adds a personal, imaginative dimension. The workshops look at key aspects of Japanese poetry such as yūgen (mystery and depth), wabi-sabi (the transient and the imperfect) and mono no aware (a deep feeling for the things of this world).

Feedback from previous Writing workshops:

        “Richard brings the old haiku masters alive.”
        “He has opened a door to a whole new world for me. I feel such gratitude.”
        “I was so inspired.”

Critical responses to Richard's work:

I am full of envy at his way with language. Albert Wendt on A Network of Dissolving Threads

This delightful book is a book of sweet harmonies, unexpected, enthralling. Richard’s poetry is aglow with wisdom, empathy and a love of poetry. I urge you to add this book to your shelves. —Paula Green on Book of Equanimity Verses

The author's emotional intelligence is acute, his use of language unerringly precise, his sensibility so disciplined, and yet so flexible, that I am tempted to admit that the book does explain everything. —Martin Edmond on This Explains Everything

More about Richard

In the 1980s Richard and his partner, Amala (Charlotte) Wrightson, toured the country as the performing duo, The Humanimals. From 1993 to 2003 he lived and worked at the Rochester Zen Center, a Buddhist community in upstate New York. During that time his work appeared regularly in literary journals and anthologies. His poetry has been included in An Anthology of New Zealand Poetry (Oxford University Press, 1997), Best New Zealand Poems 2003, Best New Zealand Poems 2006 and Best New Zealand Poems 2008. At the end of 2003 he returned to New Zealand and in 2004 founded the Auckland Zen Centre with Sensei Amala Wrightson. Six collections of his writing have been published including: A Network of Dissolving Threads (AUP, 1991), Suchness: Zen Poetry and Prose (HeadworX, 2005), Book of Equanimity Verses (Puriri Press, 2013), This Explains Everything (Atuanui Press, 2016) and Postcard Stories (2019).