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The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain

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4.41  ·  Rating details ·  752 ratings  ·  39 reviews
A Zen-Taoist poetry classic, in a handsome Chinese-English format

This definitive translation of Han Shan’s poetry appears in a bilingual Chinese-English format. Included are extensive notes, a preface by renowned translator Red Pine, a findings list, and photographs of the cave and surrounding area where Han Shan (“Cold Mountain”) lived.

Cold Mountain is one of the most rev
...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by Copper Canyon Press (first published 793)
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Average rating 4.41  · 
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Jessaka
Feb 10, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry


In 1958 Jack Kerouac dedicated his book "Dharma Bums" to Han-Shan (Cold Mountain), and in that same year Gary Snyder published his book of poems, "Cold Mountain." While the Chinese didn't find his poems that important, the early beats and others have, and so since then a few more translations of his poems have been published, and I am inundated with them.

While This was my first introduction to Cold Mountain's poems I found that I liked the Introduction by John Blofeld best, and after that the l
...more
Rodney
Jan 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Bill Porter’s a terrific translator: direct, down-to-earth, and clearly in sympathy with the culture and attitude of his subject, one of the Tang “mountain men” who left the mandarin comforts of the capitals for a more austere and anonymous life in the wilds of southeast China. Porter’s own experience as a Columbia grad school dropout who cut out for a Buddhist monastery, then wound up in the wilds of northwest USAmerica, has to be part of the reason for his artfully plainspoken translations. Th ...more
Eadweard
Mar 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Not my favorite chinese poet, he's a bit too preachy for me, too buddhist, some poems were pretty good though.

The notes by the translator are excellent, he explains some of the references and allusions that are featured in the poems (prepare for a lot of buddhist theology).
Mark
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: zen, poetry

This is a beautiful book of Zen poetry by the legendary "Cold Mountain" a wandering Zen Poet from China. The book was translated by Red Pine, and he includes information about Hanshan and commentary on his poems. I wrote a full review at Epinions when I finished this book. It is one I like to re read often, I love Zen poetry.

Hanshan The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain
...more
Ivan Granger
Jun 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: buddhism, poetry
Han Shan (Cold Mountain) is one of the great figures of Chinese Ch’an/Taoist poetry, playful, cantankerous, rich with insight. There are several other good English renderings of his work, including by Gary Snyder. But in my mind this collection by Red Pine is the authoritative English version. The whole collection is here, along with the poetry of Han Shan’s companions, Feng-kan and Shih-te.
Miles
Jan 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
born 730 AD this guys wrote much of his poetry on rocks and trees. It's hard to find good translations of chinese poetry but this is one of them
very unpretentious
Mo
Jul 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
Didn't like these as much as I expected to. Repetitive and, well, a bit preachy.
Ci
Nov 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-fail-20
For bilingual readers of Chinese and English, this book provides an elegant and convenient display stanzas side-by-side. The translated version carries the salient imageries from the original text yet is written with a simplicity that is markedly different from the original poems. The original poems, anchored in ancient Chinese ideograms with naturalistic symbols (mountain, snow, tree, bird, etc) that are far harder to access emotionally even for a fluent modern Chinese reader. The spirituality ...more
Alex
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is such a unique book. First of all, don't expect rhythmic poetry. Han Shan's poems are more like koans than poems themselves. The reading is fascinating because it gives you great insight into the Taoism and Buddhism culture of China's Tang Dynasty. It also provides a sense of what hermits were all about at the time. This comes through thanks to Red Pine's incredible translation, which adds in-depth commentary and massive references.

If you're into Taoism, early Buddhism and Zen, this is d
...more
Justin Minorkey
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: śramaṇic, 2019
234

​Cold Mountain speaks these words
​as if he were a madman
​he tells people what he thinks
​thus he earns their wrath
​but a straight mind means straight words
​a straight mind holds nothing back
​crossing the River of Death
​who’s that jabbering fool
​the road to the grave is dark
​and karma holds the reins
Moonshine
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of my all-time faves.
Kristina Spralja
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Poems to meditate upon...(satori guaranteed)
Cathy
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Translations with depth and breadth. It is worth owning a copy for those Buddhists, poets or both.
Dan
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's been a while since I've fallen into a book of poems the way I did here. Taoist poetry and me just click, I guess.
Jon
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Day after Day no Sun
Year after Year no Spring
Paul
Jul 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Some may say reviewing a book of poems that was released almost ten years ago is being a bit behind the ball. It is. I wish I had found The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain, by translator Red Pine, years earlier. However, as is the case with poetry, and especially with translations, they aren’t going away quickly like the latest trendy novel. In this case, the wonderful poems of Chinese-born Cold Mountain, which have already been around for twelve hundred years , have aged like the finest of win ...more
Jim McDonald
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The essential edition for those wishing to study Hanshan. The layout is well thought out with the original script, transliteration and English version all together, and good explanatory notes behind each poem.
Mati
Mar 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, 2008
Actually, I read the translation of this book in my native language. I was pointed to Shan Han from Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums. I was surprised how the poetry was clearly written without any spare words. The directness of the poetry was very refreshing and short poems urged reader to think about them and they brought the pictures of the country or events from which Shan Han took an inspiration. The hermit from eight century managed to overcome his shadow and made his words heard. Li Po a Tu Fu s ...more
Paul
Jan 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Han-shan, or Cold Mountain, was an impoverished monk who lived in a cliff-side cave and wrote his poems on the rocks surrounding it. His companions, Big Stick and Pickup, were always testing Taoist and Buddhist limits. I especially enjoyed Han-shan's use of the 8-line traditional poem of 5 figures, which I know from my translations, with Nguyen Do, of the ancient Vietnamese poet Nguyen Trai, 1380-1442.
Randal Samstag
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
One of Bill Porter's early efforts in a stunning career of translating Buddhist classics and classics of Chinese poetry. Han Shan had been partially translated before by Burton Watson and Gary Snyder. Bill's effort here is superb. A special treat is the forward by the wonderful Buddhism scholar / wild man, John Blofeld.
Jenn
Aug 22, 2007 rated it liked it
"People say cares never depart
a saying I thought was untrue
but yesterday what I drove off
entangles me today once more
the months depart but cares remain
and a new year means new cares
who would guess beneath the big hat
is someone plagued by old cares"

#37
Frankie
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Poetry is the only written word worth keeping; the rest should be shared and recycled among our lovers, brothers and sisters and children. Some of the my favorite lines from the stonewriting hermit...long may these words live and long may we live by.
Umut
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Cold Mountain Road is strange
no tracks of cart or horse
hard to recall which merging stream
or tell which piled-up ridge
a myriad plants weep with dew
the pines all sigh the same
here where the trail disappears
from asks shadow where to
bibliotekker Holman
Feb 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
A great collection of thoughtful translations of poems with explanatory footnotes set beside the original Chinese. I'll be revisiting these again. It is hard to really comment more until I've read them again
Iain
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Superb edition – elegantly presented, tactfully annotated, a pleasure to read. As for the poems, I can't do them justice here. From the prosaic realities of mountain life to the struggle to see one's true spiritual nature, these verses are by turns insightful, inspiring and even funny.
Jenni
Aug 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: translations
Very cool. Has the original on the opposite page and excellent footnotes.
Artie
Aug 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: hot babes
Shelves: poetry, china
Best Chinese Buddhist/Daoist poetry around. The Red Pine translations are pretty sweet. He even throws in some Shih-Te and Feng Kang poems to boot.
Justin
Oct 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Cold Mountain makes the hermit life sexy. These poems rival anything by Li Po or Tu Fu.
Kristin
Feb 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
what's more awesome than poetry written by a zen lunatic on the walls of caves? that's right... not much. hahaha... pick this up.
Jeff Davis
Jun 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
A fine edition of the great Tang Dynasty Chinese poet.
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