Paul Reps

Paul Reps (September 15, 1895 – July 12, 1990) was an American artist, poet, and author. He is best known for his unorthodox haiku-inspired poetry that was published from 1939 onwards. He is considered one of America's first haiku poets.

Paul Reps
File:Paul Reps.jpg
Born(1895-09-15)September 15, 1895
DiedJuly 12, 1990(1990-07-12) (aged 94)

In association with his writing, Reps was also a well-received artist. Many of his books have artwork influenced by Zen Buddhism displayed in association with his writings.


Reps was widely travelled and spent a large amount of his time in Asia. In Japan, his art was widely accepted and he often went there in association with the displays of his artwork in galleries and to reaffirm his Buddhist understanding.

According to Steven Levine, during the Korean war, Reps travelled to Japan to see one of his Zen masters. "At that time you couldn't go to Japan, because it was a staging place for the Korean War. So they said, 'you can't come in.' An immigration officer said, 'you can't come in now.' Paul took this immigration paper that he had written -- his application - turned it over and he wrote on the back of it, 'Drinking a cup of tea, I stop the war,' and he handed it to the immigration officer. The immigration officer looked at it and said, 'er, we need more people like you in Japan,' and allowed him in."[1]

In the later years of his life, Reps made his home on the island of Maui in Hawaii. In the two years before his death, he lived at the Haven Institute with his friends Jock McKeen and Bennet Wong (McKeen & Wong 1991).


  • Zen Flesh, Zen Bones. A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings (ISBN 0-8048-0644-6). This book includes Zen texts, but also the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra
  • Zen Telegrams (ISBN 0-8048-2023-6)
  • Letters to a friend: Writings & Drawings, 1939 to 1980 (ISBN 0-938286-01-3)
  • Gold Fish Signatures (ISBN 0-8048-0210-6)
  • Square Sun, Square Moon (ISBN 0-8048-0544-X)
  • Sit In: What it is Like (OCLC 8387693)
  • Let Good Fortune Jump on You (ISBN 0-9620812-7-2)
  • Big Bath: Poems (OCLC 4928654)
  • Unwrinkling Plays (ISBN 0-8048-0607-1)
  • Ten Ways to Meditate (ISBN 0-8348-0163-9)
  • Be! New Uses for the Human Instrument (ISBN 0-8348-0058-6)
  • Juicing: Words and Brushwork (ISBN 0-385-13250-6)


  • McKeen, J.; Wong, B.R. (Spring 1991), "Paul Reps - A Remembrance", Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 31 (2), pp. 44–48, doi:10.1177/0022167891312004
  • Wong, B.R.; McKeen, J. (1995), In and Out Of Our Own Way, Gabriola Island, BC: PD Publishing, p. 155, ISBN 0-9696755-2-6

External links

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  1. From "In the Heart Lies the Deathless," which is still available.