The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain: Revised and ExpandedRed Pine, John Blofeld
These poems were written twelve-hundred years ago on the rocks, trees, and temple walls of China’s Tientai Mountains. The poet was Han Shan, a Taoist/Buddhist hermit who begged for food at temples, often sang and drank with cowherds, and became an immortal figure in the history of Chinese literature and Zen.
|status||Copy #1 (8391): in
|genre||Literature and Fiction » Ancient Classics|
|publisher||Copper Canyon Press|
|popularity||checked out 4 time(s)|
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I was first introduced to the Cold Mountain poems in college around 1972. The Gary Snyder translation showcased the outsider anti-materialist mild-anarchist version of Cold Mountain’s Buddhism and Daoism. Not many words, lots of fun.
This more recent Red Pine version has more words, more scholarship. Everything about the approach of Red Pine is different from that of Gary Snyder. Vladimir Nabokov said that translating a poem is really writing a poem about a poem. Snyder’s poems and Red Pine’s poems are so different only sometimes does a casual reader recognize a previously loved poem. Red Pine’s scholarship and poetry are both very good.
Red Pine is a self-financing scholar and in his dedication to his translation of the Dao De Ching he thanks DSHS and the Food Stamp people for their support rather than some university department chair. I thought this showed a lower Bohemian sensibility and humor.
Gary Snyder grew up in Snohomish and has written about places in Whatcom County. Red Pine lives in Port Townsend.