David Hinton has been hailed as “simply the best translator
of Chinese poetry presently working in English.” In the words of
renowned translator Burton Watson, “David Hinton’s translations,
while remaining faithful to the meaning and spirit of the original, are
consistently imaginative in language and effective as English poetry,
and he has shown a remarkable skill in capturing the particular style
and voice of the different poets he has tackled.”
An internationally renowned expert on Asian culture and literature, and a preeminent
translator of Chinese classics, Hinton is the first twentieth-century translator
to render the four masterworks Chauang Tzu, Mencius, The Analects, and Tao
Te Ching into English. His clear and exquisite translations of many T’ang
dynasty poets, including Li Po, Wang Wei, and Tu Fu, have introduced thousands
of non-academic readers to a rich literary tradition. Hinton also translates
contemporary writers such as Bei Dao.
His translations have won numerous distinguished awards, including the Academy
of American Poets Harold Morton Landon Translation Award, fellowships from the
Witter Bynner Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment
for the Humanities, and the Ingram Merrill Foundation.
Hinton’s most recent translation, Mountain Home: The Wilderness Poetry
of Ancient China, is a hefty volume of the earliest and most extensive literary
engagement with wilderness in human history. It is also a poetry that feels utterly
contemporary. In addition to reading from this and other collections, and talking
about the cosmology and the deep ecological worldview embodied in the poems,
he’ll also read poems of his own from Fossil Sky.
Hinton makes his home in the mountains of rural Vermont—a landscape that
echoes, even while it does not mirror, the landscape of the poems he has translated
to great acclaim.