Hinton’s music is subtle, modulated, and does not slacken with either contemporary or classic. He has listened to the individual tone of each poet, and his craft is equal to his perception. . . . He continues to enlarge our literary horizon. And the ‘range of pleasure’ his translations afford ‘as sight, sound, and intellection,’ proves them true poems. Poems that breathe another culture into our English. —The Academy of American Poets
These are poems of great serenity, great satisfaction, great joy. The Mountain Poems of Meng Hao-Jan can be read in an evening, revisited for a lifetime. Find time for it. —Kansas City Star
About the Author
Meng Hao-jan (689-740 C.E.) is generally considered to be one of China’s most important poets, but before now, there has never been an edition of his work in English. Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism was coming to maturity and becoming widely practiced among the intelligentsia of China. Ch’an not only clarified the spiritual ecology of early Taoist thought, it also emphasized the old Taoist idea that deep understanding lies beyond words. In poetry, this gave rise to a much more distilled language, especially in its concise imagism, which opened new inner depths, non-verbal insights, and outright enigma. It was in the work of Meng Hao-jan that this poetic revolution began, a revolution that marked the beginning of Chinese poetry’s first great flowering. He opened the poetic ground that would be cultivated so productively by the great poets that followed, and he was revered by those poets as their esteemed elder, first master of the short imagistic landscape poem.
Translator: David Hinton’s many translations of ancient Chinese poetry have earned wide acclaim for creating compelling contemporary poetry. He is also the first translator in more than a century to translate the four original masterworks of Chinese philosophy: Tao Te Ching, Chuang Tzu, Analects, Mencius. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as numerous fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1997 he received the Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets.