David Hinton has translated many volumes of classical Chinese poetry, as well as the four seminal masterworks of Chinese philosophy.His translations from Chinese include Classical Chinese Poetry: An Anthology, The Mountain Poems of Hsieh Ling-yun, Mencius, The Analects of Confucius, Chuang Tzu: Inner Chapters, The Selected Poems of T’ao Ch’ien, and The Selected Poems of Tu Fu.

In 1997 he was the recipient of the Academy of American Poets’ Harold Morton Landon Translation Award for his three volumes published in 1996: The Selected Poems of Lí Po and Bei Dao’s Landscape Over Zero, and The Late Poems of Meng Chiao. His other recent honors include fellowships from the Witter Bynner Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. His work can be seen at: davidhinton.net.

Kevin Maynard coming soon

Red Pine (Bill Porter’s pen name for his translation work) was born in Los Angeles in 1943, grew up in the Idaho Panhandle, served a tour of duty in the US 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. He lives in Port Townsend, Washington.

His published works include The Heart Sutra, The Collected Songs of Cold MountainThe Zen Teaching of BodhidharmaRoad to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits and Zen Baggage: A Pilgrimage to China.

J.P. Seaton  was Professor of Chinese at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, from 1968 – 2003. His books of translations include The Wine of Endless Life: Taoist Drinking Songs from the Yuan Dynasty, Bright Moon/ Perching Bird, Selected poems of Li Po and Tu Fu, with Jim Cryer,  Love and Time, selected poems of Ou-yang Hsiu, A Drifting Boat: Chinese Zen Poetry, I  Don’t Bow to Buddhas: Selected Poems of Yuan Mei, The Essential Chuang Tzu, The Poetry of Zen (co-authored, with Sam Hamill),. The Shambhala Anthology of Chinese Poetry, Cold Mountain Poems: Zen Poems of Han Shan, Shih Te, and Wang Fan-chih, and Bright Moon, White Clouds: Selected Poems of Li Po.


The Shih Ching , usually translated as either The Book of Songs or the Classic of Poetry, is the first great collection of Chinese poetry. Tradition says that it was edited into its present form by the Sage of Sages, Confucius himself. In fact the book was assembled before, during, and after the life of Confucius. Its more than three hundred poems include fragments of works as old as the Shang Dynasty (traditional; dates 1766-1154 BCE) as well as “contemporary” poems from the Chou feudal states written or spoken by both aristocratic court figures and just plain “folks”. A great deal has been said about the origin of many, if not the majority of the poems as oral “folk” art, but it is clear from the artistry of the written language in which they have been handed down that, like the scribes who improved upon the originally oral poetry attributed to “Homer” in the West to create the Iliad and the Odyssey, the people who converted Chou folk songs and court verses into poetry in written Chinese characters clearly thought of themselves as (and were) artists. So the characters used to render simple and direct lyrical utterances of the illiterate peasant folk often honor them with carefully chosen written vocabulary: the heart and soul of folk art remains clearly present, but literary subtleties are introduced. The scribes who created the Shih Ching were poets, not tape recorders. They chose the best of what existed, and they honored it with their own art.

In its present form, the Shih Ching consists of three major sections, the Kuo Feng, or Odes of the States, comprising 160 of the 300 are generally but not always folk songs. The Ya (Elegant Verses) subdivided with no obvious criteria into greater and lesser, include poems 161-265, and the Sung or Temple Odes high ritual songs and bits of dynastic myth, include poems 266-305. The present selection is comes, all but a single longer poem on drinking and its positive and negative consequences from the “Lesser Elegants”, all come from the Kuo Feng Sections.

Knowledge of the Shih Ching poems was a necessity of diplomatic practice around the time of Confucius, when it was a common practice to deliver or at least support the delivery of diplomatic messages among the feudal domains (the “States or Guo of the Guo Feng) by oral presentation of relevant lines from the Classic. From the Han on many of the poems where imbued with very specific allegorical interpretations, but it is clear that later poets, who memorized the book word for word, used it as allusive material in their own poems at least as often for its plain “folk” messages as for its orthodoxly approved allegorical ones.