Composed in three sequences, the thirty-three poems in Precipitates seek to find perfection’s still point in a world of constant flux while, paradoxically, also embracing change; in the process, these poems map a journey from doubt to faith. The longest sequence, a journal-in-verse, employs some of the link-and-shift techniques of the Japanese renku. The second sequence unfolds under the influence of the Buddhist Heart Sutra and the third, Ecclesiastes.


“Debra Kang Dean writes with disarming clarity and a formal beauty at once experimental and highly structured. Such are the quiet tensions of a meditative mind that knows Bashô’s wisdom: the poem must be both timeless and current…. This is a book of gorgeous faith in the power of image and I celebrate it.”

—Alison Hawthorne Deming

“With the precision of the minute hand and the broad, generous sweep of the hour, the poems in Precipitates are the result of a skilled and patient practitioner. Debra Kang Dean centers her mind and heart at the point where ‘lines / intersect: then, now, and then...’, distillations from living fully present to the moment deposited as ‘some new thing... / in the fragile nets we weave.’ Dean weaves quiet magic, fine poems.”

—Cathy Song

“In a waka on impermanence, Zen master Dogen wrote, ‘The world? Moonlit / Drops shaken / From the crane’s bill.’ The precipitates in these poems—snow, hail, rain—join what takes form, the patchwork we call our selves. Debra Kang Dean’s three-part seasonal diary forms the core of this book. Here is poetry that, using techniques from renku composition, honors the ordinary, leaping and shifting from moment to moment. It is verse that condenses and compresses until the poet sees acutely, clarifying ‘to the no, and al- / so to the yes in this state / of transition.”

—Margaret Gibson

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Sample Poems

Adam’s Apple

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