Mountain Home: The Wilderness Poetry of Ancient China

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9780811216241: Mountain Home: The Wilderness Poetry of Ancient China

The earliest and most extensive literary engagement with wilderness in human history, Mountain Home is vital poetry that feels utterly contemporary. 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, the work feels utterly contemporary, especially as rendered here in Hinton's rich and accessible translations. Mountain Home collects poems from 5th- through 13th-century China and includes the poets Li Po, Po Chu-i and Tu Fu. The "rivers-and-mountains" tradition covers a remarkable range of topics: comic domestic scenes, social protest, travel, sage recluses, and mountain landscapes shaped into forms of enlightenment. And within this range, the poems articulate the experience of living as an organic part of the natural world and its processes. In an age of global ecological disruption and mass extinction, this tradition grows more urgently important every day. Mountain Home offers poems that will charm and inform not just readers of poetry, but also the large community of readers who are interested in environmental awareness.

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About the Author:

David Hinton's many translations of classical Chinese poetry and philosophy have earned wide acclaim for creating compelling contemporary texts that convey the actual texture and density of the originals. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as numerous fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1997, he received the Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets. He lives in East Calais, Vermont.

David Hinton's many translations of classical Chinese poetry and philosophy have earned wide acclaim for creating compelling contemporary texts that convey the actual texture and density of the originals. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as numerous fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1997, he received the Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets. He lives in East Calais, Vermont.

David Hinton's many translations of classical Chinese poetry and philosophy have earned wide acclaim for creating compelling contemporary texts that convey the actual texture and density of the originals. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as numerous fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1997, he received the Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets. He lives in East Calais, Vermont.

From Booklist:

Translator and scholar Hinton ensures that Western readers will experience this supreme collection of Chinese rivers-and-mountains (shan-shui) poetry at the deepest possible level by succinctly explaining the cosmology inherent in this vital and profoundly influential tradition. The keys to understanding the elegant poetry of such masters as T'ao Ch'ien (365-427), Li Po (701-762), and Lu Yu (1125-1210) are realizing that they perceive no divide between the human and what we call nature, or between being and nonbeing, and recognizing that in Taoist thought existence is an ongoing process of transformation "through which all things arise and pass away." The path taken in most of these deceptively simple lyrics leads away from the clamor of the city back to life's sweet essences: the flow of water, the play of shadows and sunshine on mountain and field, the moon's phases, and the great wheel of the seasons. Oneness with life at its purest is the desired mode for these thoughtful, yet often playful, poets, and dwelling within these meditative pages is the first step on the way there. Donna Seaman
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