Peter Levitt of Salt Spring Island was born in New York City on September 2, 1946. He came to Canada in 2000. In 2006 correspondence, he writes, ""I remember in one of Gary Snyder's books, maybe Earth House Hold, he quotes a man who says there is more information in one square yard of the forest than in all the libraries of Europe. I have long maintained that if we were to sit beneath a tree, Buddha style for one year only, we would know how to live. I still do think this, in a way that feels quite real, but the losses we face on a daily basis leave me with the conviction that it is not enough. Yes, for one person to know how to live is good. Maybe, then, two or three take it on. Even two or three million. But it's not going to be enough. Still we must go forward and live and make life possible as much as we can. We don't have to 'win'. That's my sense, anyway. The 'good life' is still good, perhaps especially, in a terrible time."

Of his first full-length book of poetry since his arrival in Canada, Within Within, Robert Hilles wrote, "Peter Levitt discovers poetry everywhere in his adopted home... Whether he is gathering firewood, witnessing the startling attack of an eagle, playing with his son, reflecting on the death of his mother, enduring a grey-rainy winter, or remembering a recently departed friend, he captures it all with a fervor and depth of observation rare except in the very best poets."

Eihei Dogen (1200-1253), founder of the Soto School of Zen Buddhism, is one of the greatest religious, philosophical, and literary geniuses of Japan. His writings have been studied by Zen students for centuries, particularly his masterwork, Shobo Genzo or Treasury of the True Dharma Eye. With Kaz Tanahashi, Peter Levitt has edited The Essential Dogen, Writings of the Great Zen Master. He also wrote an extensive essay for the book, called A Walk With Dogen Into Our Time, to help contemporary readers find ways to bring Dogen into their lives.


Formerly an instructor for private writing workshops and MFA faculty member (poetry) for Antioch University; became a teacher of translation as a member of the UBC MFA Creative Writing online program.


The Complete Cold Mountain: Poems of the Legendary Hermit Hanshan (Shambhala 2018) $24.95 9778-1-61180-426-3 Co-translator

The Essential Dogen, Writings of the Great Zen Master (Shambhala 2013) Co-editor. $17 \ 978-1-61180-041-8

Within Within (Black Moss, 2008) (Poetry}

Winter Still, Mother Tongue Press, 2007. (Poems)

A Flock Of Fools: Ancient Buddhist Tales of Wisdom and Laughter, by Peter Levitt and Kaz Tanahashi, Grove Press, 2004

Fingerpainting On The Moon: Writing and Creativity as a Path To Freedom, Random House 2003

One Hundred Butterflies, Broken Moon Press, 1992. Blissful Monkey Press, 2011, 2013. (Poems)

Bright Root, Dark Root, Broken Moon Press, 1991. (Poems)

Las Piedras Del Cielo, Trans. by Peter Levitt, Daley Books, 1992

Homage: Leda As Virgin , Lockhart Press, 1987. (Poems)

A Book Of Light, Amargi Press, 1982. (Poems)

Running Grass (Poems 1970-1977), Foreword by Robert Creeley, Eidolon Editions, 1979. (Poems)

Two Bodies Dark/Velvet, Momentum Press, 1975. (Poems)

Poems, Slow Loris Press, 1972. (Poems)


No Beginning, No End: The Intimate Heart of Zen by Jakusho Kwong, Foreword by Peter Levitt, Random House, 2004

The Heart Of Understanding by Thich Nhat Hanh, Edited with Foreword by Peter Levitt, Parallax Press, 1988.

Pacific Light, By Jay Dunitz, Light Press, Hillsboro, Oregon 1989.

Associate Editor of Treasury of the True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dogen's Shobogenzo, edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi, published by Shambhala Publications, 2011.


Poetry in Wartime, Two Careys Production, Release Sept 11, 2004


Lannan Foundation Award in Poetry (1989).

[BCBW 2013] "Poetry"