The incomparable poetry of Han Shan (Cold Mountain), Shih Te, and Wang Fan-chih--rebel poets who became icons of Chinese poetry and Zen--by a premier translator.
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 "laughing madmen" as well as at Wang Fan-chih, who followed in the outsider tradition a few centuries later. Forceful and wry, all three capture the poverty and gritty day-to-day reality of the common people along with condemning 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.
“These poems remind us of the ugliness of greed and hunger and the need to find peace and happiness in spite of them.”—Shambhala Sun
“J. P. Seaton’s translations of Chinese poetry are a treasure that I have returned to with gratitude ever since I first discovered them.”—W. S. Merwin
“Jerome Seaton is the finest living translator and explicator of Chinese poetry; beyond a genius for interpretation and impeccable scholarship. Seaton has that quality that can magically transcend intuition and learning; he is a poet.”—Carolyn Kizer, author of Cool, Calm, and Collected: Poems 1960-2000
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.