Early in his career, Fischer was associated with the Language poets; during his time at Tassajara, his fellow students included Jane Hirschfield and Philip Whalen, both poets with whom he maintained close ties. Discussing writing on his website, Fischer states: “There’s no self or person, just what arises … writing is words, how they sound, how they look lying on the page.” Exhibiting a Buddhist sensibility, his poems display a literary bent while questioning the qualities of language.
Fisher has written numerous books on spirituality, among them Opening to You: Zen-Inspired Translations of the Psalms (2003), Taking Our Places: The Buddhist Path to Truly Growing Up (2004), Sailing Home: Using Homer’s Odyssey to Navigate Life’s Perils and Pitfalls (2008), Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong (2013).
Fischer was co-abbot for the San Francisco Zen Center from 1995 to 2000. He is a founder of and teacher at the Everyday Zen Foundation.
Audio & PodcastsPoem Talk
If Nothing Ever Ended: A Discussion of Norman Fischer’s poem “I’d Like to See It.”
Hosted by Al Filreis and featuring Frank Sherlock, Linh Dinh and Julia Bloch.