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Digital Collections

Gail Sher Collection

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Since her first poetry publication in 1981 in a literary journal edited by Robert Bertholf, former curator of the Poetry Collection, Gail Sher has published over thirty books of poetry, three books on writing as a craft and a spiritual practice, and a book on bread making based on her years of experience at the San Francisco Zen Center’s bakery in San Francisco. Her books include From Another Point of View the Woman Seems to Be Resting (Trike Press, 1982), Broke Aide (Burning Deck, 1985), Kuklos (Paradigm Press, 1995), Marginalia (Rodent Press, 1997), One Continuous Mistake: Four Noble Truths for Writers (Penguin, 1999), redwind daylong daylong (Night Crane Press, 2004), From a Baker’s Kitchen (20th anniversary edition, Marlowe & Co., 2004), and Five Haiku Narratives (Night Crane Press, 2015). Her writing has appeared in numerous literary magazines and journals, and her haiku has won awards in Japan and the U.S.

Underlying Sher’s work as a writer and therapist is her training in Zen and Tibetan Buddhism. In 1970 she was ordained as a lay disciple of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, the Zen master who helped spread Soto Zen Buddhism in the United States through his founding of the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center and San Francisco Zen Center, monasteries where Sher practiced for eleven years. Both her writing and her counseling are deeply informed by a Buddhist approach to awareness. In her recent publication Poetry, Zen and the Linguistic Unconscious (2016), Sher writes that her “biggest responsibility to myself as a poet is to remain in the realm of the unknown. I don’t write what I already know…My writing arises, and I am constantly surprised by it.”

This digital collection features downloadable copies of almost all of Sher’s poetry books and magazine/anthology appearances as well as a 1982 video recording of her reading her early work. It complements the Poetry Collection’s Gail Sher Collection, which includes manuscripts of published and unpublished writings; correspondence between Sher and other poets and poet-editors; artwork; photographs; documentation of her published work, including many journals in which her poetry has appeared; and audio visual materials (finding aid). The poet also maintains her own website and can be contacted via gailsher.com.


Gail Sher Bibliography

Poetry books by Gail Sher organized by phase:

I. Radical language experiments, 1982-1997


II. Asian-influenced work, 1996-2008


III. The wisdom-mind collection, 2008-2013


IV. Late work, 2014-present


All publications by Gail Sher organized by date, 1981-2016

Print copies of her books and the journals in which she has appeared are available in the Poetry Collection. Books published by Night Crane Press remain in print and can be ordered from any bookseller, including online sellers.

I. Prose books (print)


II. Poetry books (print)


III. Periodicals & anthologies

Periodical and anthology appearances marked with an asterisk are available together as “Gail Sher: Periodicals & Anthologies, 1981-2012.” See also “Hundred-stanza renga.”


IV. Other publications

Starving Passion: A Tribute to Anorexia. Thesis (M.A.), John F. Kennedy University, 1988. Listed in catalog.jfku.edu. Print copy available in the Gail Sher Collection, Poetry Collection, University at Buffalo.