Synopses & Reviews
The incomparable poetry of Han Shan ( Cold Mountain ) and his sidekick Shih Te, the rebel poets who became icons of Chinese poetry and Zen, has long captured the imagination of poetry lovers and Zen aficionados. Popularized in the West by Beat Generation writers Gary Snyder and Jack Kerouac, these legendary T'ang era (618-907) figures are portrayed as the laughing, ragged pair who left their poetry on stones, trees, farmhouses, and the walls of the monasteries they visited. Their poetry expressed in the simplest verse but in a completely new tone, the voice of ordinary people.
Here premier translator J. P. Seaton takes a fresh look at these captivating poets, along with Wang Fan-chih, another outsider poet who lived a couple centuries later and who captured the poverty and gritty day-to-day reality of the common people of his time. Seaton's comprehensive introduction and notes throughout give a fascinating context to this vibrant collection.
Popularized in the West by Beat Generation writers Gary Snyder and Jack Kerouac, T’ang-era rebel poet Han Shan is an icon of Chinese poetry and Zen. He and his sidekick, Shih Te, are known as the laughing, ragged pair who left their poetry on stones, trees, farmhouses, and monastery walls, calling others to “the Cold Mountain way” of simple, honest, joyful living.
J. P. Seaton takes a fresh look at these poets, as well as at Wang Fan-chih, who followed in the outsider tradition a few centuries later. Forceful and wry, all three condemn the excesses of mind and matter that prevent people from attaining true enlightenment. With a comprehensive introduction and commentary throughout, this collection points to where, in a world that’s always moving and so full of suffering, stillness and clarity can be found.
About the Author
J. P. Seaton is Professor of Chinese at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is the translator of numerous books, including The Poetry of Zen and The Shambhala Anthology of Chinese Poetry, and his poetry translations have been widely anthologized in such books as The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry, The Norton Anthology of World Poetry, and The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry.