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Guide to Capturing a Plum Blossom Paperback – October 1, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-1562790776 ISBN-10: 1562790773 Edition: 1st

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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Mercury House; 1st edition (October 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1562790773
  • ISBN-13: 978-1562790776
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,218,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Chinese (translation)
Original Language: Chinese

About the Author

Sung Po-jen: Sung Po-jen was Chinese poet of the thirteenth century.
Lo Ch'ing: Lo Ch'ing was the Executive Secretary of Chinese PEN and an advisor to Taiwan's Ministry of Culture.

Red Pine: Red Pine (aka Bill Porter) is one of the world's foremost translators of Chinese poetry and religious texts. He was born in Los Angeles in 1943, grew up in the Idaho Panhandle, served a tour of duty in the U.S. Army, graduated from the University of California with a degree in anthropology, and attended graduate school at Columbia University. Uninspired by the prospect of an academic career, he dropped out of Columbia and moved to a Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. After four years with the monks and nuns, he struck out on his own and eventually found work at English-language radio stations in Taiwan and Hong Kong, where he interviewed local dignitaries and produced more than a thousand programs about his travels in China.

Red Pine's published translations include The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain, for which he was awarded the WESTAF Award in Translation; Poems of the Masters; In Such Hard Times: The Poetry of Wei Ying-wu, which recieved the 2010 Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize; Lao-tzu's Taoteching; The Zen Works of Stonehouse ; Guide to Capturing a Plum Blossom by Sung Po-jen, for which he was awarded a PEN West translation prize; and The Zen Teachings of Bodhidharma. He is also the author of Zen Baggage and Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits. He lives in Port Townsend, Washington.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Robert R. Hudson on May 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
Imagine making the micro-stages of a plum blossom's growth the basis of a startling series of nature poems. But this is what Po-Jen Sung manages to do, and Red Pine's translation seems elegent and luminous and baffling in all the right places. The poet is never at a loss for the perfect image. He is intuitive and always flowing with the spirit of the inner details. This is visionary poetry at its best -- and the woodcuts of each of the flower's stages are incomparable. A must read. Thanks to Red Pine for this deeply moving work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gromer on January 24, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very Aubrey Beardsleyesque draftsmanship. You buy this book for the illustrations. It is fun to read the Chinese text and compare it to the translations, too, but it is the pictures that grab you. Buy it for all your sakura and hanami-loving friends.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gary Sprandel on June 27, 2014
Format: Paperback
These 100 poems, organized into 8 sections paralleling the life of a plum blossom (Buds, … Opening, Radiant, Fading, and Forming Fruit). Starting with “A southern branch erupts with buds”, Pines translation, offers deeper understanding of the “politics’ of the writer Sung ,, for example “Sung uses such references to show his dissatisfaction with court policies”. How Red Pine knows the full story of these poems is beyond me, such as His Shuh a famous beauty of 5th century BC China.
For the tea drinker #4, refers to “crab eyes” as the tiny bubbles that first break the surface when warming water,
For the bird watching, “stork beak” offers a glimpse of the crane as a symbol of transcendence, different than the stork, or a different poem advise ‘don’t quarrel with a snipe”, and such poems as Oriole Flying through the Willows, and Osprey riding the wind, are pure joy.
When I retire, I want to use the words of Tien, when asked a bout a job said “he would like to go with a group of young men to the countryside in spring, wash away the dust of the past year in the river, dry off in the breeze at the rain-dance alter, and return home signing”. (poem 69)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By michael mcclure on March 25, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
All lovers of asian poetry, mysterious history, divine drawing, and plum blossoms
will enjoy this book.
Thank you once again, Red Pine, for deep-translation.

with pleasure
Michael McClure
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sye Sye on January 17, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Guide to Capturing a Plum Blossom is another great book of classical Chinese poetry in translation from Red Pine and Copper Canyon Press. I read or speak no Chinese dialect so I can't comment on translation. The poems are wonderful with Red Pine's scholarly but accessible notes and the art work is a beautiful series of the transformations of a blossoming plum branch.
Buy this one quickly in case it goes out of print, it is truly a book any bibliophile or scholar of classical Chinese would love.

The book has a great physical feel to it also. Thanks to the loving attention of Copper Canyon Press we have been blessed with quite a number of classical Chinese translations. I hope they continue and are discovered by a wider variety of people.
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