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Writing in the Present Moment

Richard von Sturmer

During Labour weekend (Saturday 20 October, 2018), Richard von Sturmer is offering a one-day workshop on Writing in the Present Moment at the Auckland Zen Centre, 50-52 Princes Street, Onehunga.

The workshop will focus on haiku and tanka, and will 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. He is well known for having written the lyrics to Blam Blam Blam's "There is No Depression in New Zealand", which has become the country's alternate national anthem. More about Richard below.

Workshop Schedule

Saturday 10 a.m. - 3.30 p.m. Lunch will be from 12 - 1 p.m. You can bring a packed lunch or visit a local cafe (five minutes' walk from the Centre).

Writing in the Present Moment
Being attentive to the present moment, to the natural world and to our own nature, is essential for good, poetic writing. In this workshop we will explore haiku and tanka, forms of Japanese poetry now widely practiced in the West.

Writing haiku gives us a way of responding to what is happening around us, while tanka adds a personal, imaginative dimension. As part of the workshop we will also 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 a previous Writing in the Present Moment Workshop:
“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.”


$100 GST inclusive ($80 for AZC supporting members).

Notes on cancellation and refunds: Should you be unable to attend, a substitute is welcome to attend in your place at no extra cost. Alternatively, a refund less $50 service charge per registrant will be made for cancellations received in writing (email or letter) up to five working days prior to the workshop. Regrettably, no refund can be made less than five working days prior to the event. However, you will be sent the workshop materials on request. You are responsible for your own travel/accommodation bookings and no travel/accommodation compensation will be made should the workshop be rescheduled or cancelled.


Please register here.
Payment with registration is required to confirm your place.

Internet transfers may be made to Auckland Zen Centre, Kiwibank #38 9005 035812500. 

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) and This Explains Everything (Atuanui Press, 2016).