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This unique collection presents the verse, much of it translated for the first time, of fourteen eminent Chinese Buddhist poet monks. Featuring the original Chinese as well as english translations and historical introductions by Burton Watson, J.P. Seaton, Paul Hansen, James Sanford, and the editors, this book provides an appreciation and understanding of this elegant and traditional expression of spirituality.
"So take a walk with...these cranky, melancholy, lonely, mischievous poet-ancestors. Their songs are stout as a pilgrim's stave or a pair of good shoes, and were meant to be taken on the great journey."--Andrew Schelling, from his Introduction Gary Snyder brought the Chinese Zen poet Han-Shan (Cold Mountain) to prominence through translations that struck a cord with Zen enthusiasts and back-to-nature mystics alike. Now Red Pine, Mike O'Connor, and four other translators have breathed life into the literary descendants of Han-Shan, poet monks who are most at home in misty hills, contemplating "crimson leaves" and "azure depths." Like its Japanese cousin, the haiku, Chinese Zen poetry conveys pregnant images in spare structures that cascade into layers of emotion and rich associations. The Buddhism itself lies offstage, the poems recalling more of Thoreau or Whitman than Hui-neng or Nagarjuna. The translations here pause and flow like the originals, with poet-painter Paul Hansen's renderings of early Sung monks especially brilliant, outshining even the celebrated Burton Watson's translations of the Tang poet Ch'i Chi. For that trip to your mountain hermitage or when simply hiding out in the backyard, you'll find sure companionship in The Clouds Should Know Me By Now. --Brian Bruya