Peter Dale Scott with Norman Fischer & Sylvia Boorstein - Ecstatic Pessimist (Corte Madera Store)

Peter Dale Scott
in conversation with Norman Fischer & Sylvia Boorstein

Ecstatic Pessimist
Czeslaw Milosz, Poet of Catastrophe and Hope (World Social Change)

Corte Madera Store

Sun., July 16, 2023 • 4:00pm PT

This event will be hosted in-person at Book Passage's Corte Madera Store. Please contact with questions regarding events.

"Czelaw Milosz, with his unblinking witness to horror and his insistence on hope for humanity, has never seemed more relevant. To meet this moment, Peter Dale Scott bring his more than fifty years of personal and critical engagement with Milosz. Ecstatic Pessimist simultaneously illuminates the arc of Milosz’s oeuvre and narrates a passionate reader’s lifelong engagement. A major contribution to Milosz studies." — David Shaddock, author of Poetry and Psychoanalysis

Ecstatic Pessimist is a timely book about the Central and Eastern European experience of the mid-20th century, as told through the poetry and experiences of Czeslaw Milosz, Nobel Laureate for literature, who wrote on the horrors of war and the human experience. Written by a colleague and friend of the poet, it is part literary criticism and part memoir. This biography/memoir of Czesław Miłosz is a first-hand account of the poet’s life and his relationship to the author, beginning in the 1960s. Milosz was a Polish-American poet, prose writer, translator, and diplomat. Regarded as one of the great poets of the 20th century, he won the 1980 Nobel Prize in Literature. In its citation, the Swedish Academy called Miłosz a writer who "voices man's exposed condition in a world of severe conflicts".

Peter Dale Scott taught at Sedbergh School and McGill University before joining the Canadian Department of External Affairs and the Canadian Embassy in Warsaw, Poland. Returning to academic life Peter Dale Scott taught at the University of California for over thirty years. Books by Peter Dale Scott include The War Conspiracy: The Secret Road to the Second Indochina War, Crime and Cover-Up: The CIA, the Mafia, and the Dallas-Watergate Connection, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK and Deep Politics II: Essays on Oswald, Mexico, and Cuba, Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America, Drugs, Oil, and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America and American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan.


Norman Fischer is a poet and Zen Buddhist priest. His recent poetry titles include Selected Poems 1980-2013, There Was a Clattering as…, Nature, and Men in Suits.. His latest Buddhist titles are The World Could be Otherwise: Imagination and the Bodhisattva Path; and When You Greet Me I Bow: notes and reflections from a life in Zen. His translation of the Hebrew psalms, Opening to You, published by Viking Compass in 2002, is widely read in both Jewish and Christian circles. The University of Alabama Press Poetics Series brought out his Experience: Essays on Thinking, Writing, Language, and Religion in 2016. He lives in Muir Beach California with his wife Kathie, who is also a Zen priest. For more information see, and




Sylvia Boorstein, PhD, has been teaching Dharma and mindfulness meditation since 1985. She is a founding Spirit Rock teacher, a psychologist, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. She is particularly interested in emphasizing daily life as mindfulness practice and including informed citizenship and social activism as integral to spiritual maturation. Her books include: It's Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness; Don't Just Do Something, Sit There: A Mindfulness Retreat; That's Funny, You Don't Look Buddhist: On Being a Faithful Jew and a Passionate Buddhist; Pay Attention for Goodness' Sake: The Buddhist Path of Kindness and Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life.





Peter Dale Scott photo courtesy of the publicist. Norman Fischer photo courtesy of the author. Sylivia Boorstein photo courtesy of the author.



Book Passage Corte Madera
51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925
Ecstatic Pessimist: Czeslaw Milosz, Poet of Catastrophe and Hope (World Social Change) By Peter Dale Scott Cover Image
ISBN: 9781538172445
Published: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers - March 3rd, 2023

When You Greet Me I Bow: Notes and Reflections from a Life in Zen By Norman Fischer, Cynthia Schrager (Editor) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781611808216
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click Title for More Details
Published: Shambhala - May 18th, 2021

Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life By Sylvia Boorstein, Ph.D. Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345481320
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click Title for More Details
Published: Ballantine Books - December 30th, 2008