China's tradition of "rivers-and-mountains" poetry stretches across millennia. This is a plain-spoken poetry of immediate day-to-day experience, and yet seems most akin to China's grand landscape paintings. Although its wisdom is ancient, rooted in Taoist and Zen thought, this work feels utterly contemporary, especially as rendered here with Hinton's acclaimed poetic ability.
The rivers-and-mountains tradition treats a remarkable range of topics: comic domestic scenes, social protest, travelogue, sage recluses, and mountain landscapes shaped into forms of enlightenment. But throughout that range, these poems articulate the experience of living as an organic part of the natural world and its processes. And in an age of global ecological disruption and mass extinction, this tradition grows more urgent and universally important by the day. These breathtaking translations offer a poetry that will charm and inform not just readers of poetry, but also the large community of readers who are interested in environmental awareness.
Author Biography: David Hinton's many translations of ancient Chinese poetry have earned wide acclaim for creating compelling English poetry that conveys the actual texture and density of the originals. He has held numerous fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. And in 1997, his work was awarded the Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets. He lives in East Calais, Vermont.