Philosoverse 2012 – Around the World in 80 Lines

Posted on 04/19/2012


Philosoverse 2012, a new issue of a philosophical poetry volume has been recently published by London School of Economics. This year’s edition is entitled Around the World in 80 lines; its main part consists of a set of short, four verse poems exploring different characteristics of mainly non-Western civilizations. Apart from the information contained in the main text, the poems broaden the context by referring to the footnotes, which explain some cultural and philosophical peculiarities relevant for the contributions.

The publication, to become a London wide project, features my two poems – a short form about Dogen’s philosophy of zen  as well as a longer poem picturing Hector’s farewell to Andromache – a well known scene from Homer’s Illiad, whereby Hector already knows he will be slashed by Achilles, but dramatically tries to rationalize gods’ wager to his weeping wife.

You can download the whole publication here. The above mentioned poem about Dogen goes like this:


True wisdom is next to none

So “none” and “wisdom” are neighbouring kingdoms

Zen says: “submerge in None should you seek wisdom”.

Then be gone – nirvana’s done [*]

– Greg Lewicki

[*] Many Buddhist schools differentiate between “non-pure” nirvana, apprehended as extinguishing earthly desires and “pure nirvana”, experienced when the last smouldering desire, to keep living and be reborn, is effectively terminated by death. Dogen opposes this distinction with a single, pragmatic message of zen: the true nirvana consists of temporary meditative “withdrawals into None”, which purify the mind to subsequently allow returning to life and making right decisions. To express a thought completely, zen sages often reformulated it in different ways.