This unique collection presents the verse, much of it translated for the first time, of fourteen eminent Chinese Buddhist poet monks. Featuring the original Chinese as well as english translations and historical introductions by Burton Watson, J.P. Seaton, Paul Hansen, James Sanford, and the editors, this book provides an appreciation and understanding of this elegant and traditional expression of spirituality.
"So take a walk with...these cranky, melancholy, lonely, mischievous poet-ancestors. Their songs are stout as a pilgrim's stave or a pair of good shoes, and were meant to be taken on the great journey."--Andrew Schelling, from his Introduction
"Arranging yet intimate selection filled with scholarship, humor, and insight."
– Jane Hirshfield, author of Nine Gates
"Living so close to mind and to nature-in the place where these are not two-these ancient monk-poets present us with the eternal stuff of the poem: hills, crags, journeys, the solitary monk or nun, the gentle inexorable pace of the seasons, till we, too, begin to glimpse all this as our own original face."
– Diane di Prima, author of Loba and Pieces of a Song
"These Zen monks, writing between the T'ang Dynasty and the early twentieth century and until now virtually unknown in the West, are among the exemplars of one of the world's richest and most influential literary traditions. The poems, translated by some of the most knowledgeable and talented scholars anywhere, are luminous and elegant in their simplicity, resonating with the wisdom of sages. This is an indispensable book."
– Sam Hamill, Copper Canyon Press
"A welcome and tantalizing selection of verse from a tradition of poetry that remains largely untranslated. Reading the poetry of these Chinese monks one has a sense of what it is like to live solely amid nature. They tell it like it is, and their simple humility in the face of the wonders of the natural earth has much to teach us."
"If you have dog-eared copies of 'Hiding the Universe' or 'Cold Mountain,' or are enamored of the many contemporary poets who have taken inspiration from them, you will find 'Clouds.' to be a most welcomed friend."
– New Visions
"In such a hurly-burly time as ours, is it a comfort to sit down and spend half an hour meditating on the manifest world as seen through the eyes of Buddhist poet-monks."
– Pacific Reader
"Achingly beautiful poems. In their haunting simplicity, the poems collected here remind us of our oneness with the environment. Highly recommended."
– Library Journal
"A thousand years of poetry has been tenderly gathered in from the wind and gently placed upon the page...it is a breath of fresh, crisp, high-altitude air to our hearts."
– NAPRA ReVIEW
"Refreshing. These translations will stand alongside those of Pound, Rexroth, Snyder and R.H. Blyth. A valuable addition to collections of Buddhist poetry. Recommended."
"A rare collection of devotional poems by fourteen eminent Chinese Buddhist monks, this book resonates with the wisdom of the sages. Featuring the original Chinese as well as the English translations by some of the most knowledgeable and talented scholars, the poems are luminous and elegant in their expression of traditional spirituality. Profound spiritual truths lie hidden in these poems of friendship, family life, travels; poems with a breath of pine wind. They strike a note that is seasoned, deeply and resolutely secular. One thread that runs through all these poems is that of a reverence for life: one's own, one's companions, one's fellow-creatures! If you love the company of gifted poets, this is just the book for you."