The only physical copy of poetry I have is THE WAY OF CHUANG TZU by Thomas Merton. Thomas Merton “was a Trappist Monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. A poet, social activist, and student of comparative religion, Merton wrote numerous books on spirituality, including his monumental autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain” (THE WAY OF CHUANG TZU). After Merton read translations of classic sayings of Chuang Tzu, he decided to come up with his own version of them. The book doesn’t just contain poetry/classical sayings, it also has information on who Chuang Tzu was and his teaching of Taoism. 

The book starts with A Tribute To Thomas Merton, which takes up one page. The next part of the book is A Note To The Reader, which takes up about two full pages. In A Note To the Reader, it tells why the book was written, what the book is, and brief information on Chuang Tzu. The books then moves into The Way of Chuang Tzu, which takes up about nine full pages. In these nine pages, it explains the teaching of Chuang Tzu. The next part of the book makes up the poetry/classical sayings. The poetry/classical sayings take up sixty-one pages of the book. The next part of the book is the Glossary, which takes up one page of the book. The fifth part of the book is a Bibliography, which takes up one page. The last part of the book is the Notes, which takes up one page of the book.     

The book is yellow, with black text on it. The front cover has the title, (THE WAY OF CHUANG TZU) the author, (Thomas Merton) and the words Preface By His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In the middle of the title and the author, there is a picture of two men sitting on the ground. The back of the book has two paragraphs on what the book is about. The next part of the book is three reviews of the book. The third part of the book is information on the author. The last part of the book is information on the Dalai Lama. In one of the corners, it has who designed the cover, information on the publisher, and price. The other corner, it has a barcode.            

The book has 159 pages. The parts, A Tribute To Thomas Merton, and A Note To The Reader all have titles and subtitles. After the subtitles, it moves into the body/information. The rest of the book just has a title and the body. The cover nor the pages are glossy/smooth. The pages are thick, not flimsy. Because the book is sturdy, I’m able to be rough with the book. I can bend the pages and the book without really damaging it.   

Work Cited:

Merton, Thomas. The Way of Chuang Tzu. New Directions Books, 2010.

“The Way of Chuang Tzu (Second Edition).” Amazon, Amazon,

2 thoughts on “THE WAY OF CHUANG TZU”

  1. In your post, I notice that this book has a lot of paratext, of textual components that are not-the-book but, instead, serve to frame it. In the discussion, the book itself – the poetry – seems to get lost inside its framework of prefaces, tributes, notes, glosseries. (Disclosure here: I love paratext, personally! The more authors, the merrier the party!) It’s worth noticing how the book, though, comes as this nexus of texts.


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