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The Mountain Poems of Hsieh Ling-Yün

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  38 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
During the last decade of his life, living as a recluse high in the mountains of southeast China, he initiated a tradition of "rivers-and-mountains" (shan-shui) poetry that stretches across the millennia in China, a tradition that represents the earliest and most extensive literary engagement with "the wild" in human history. These poems were hugely popular in Hsieh's own ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published November 17th 2001 by New Directions (first published November 2001)
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Jul 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chinese, poetry

Li T'ang (c. 1050 – 1130)

Hsieh Ling-yün (385–433), also romanized as Xie Lingyun, is apparently considered to be the founder of Nature (or landscape) poetry in China, particularly of shan-shui (rivers and mountains) poetry. This is not to be confused with pastoral poetry; Nature poetry is verse inspired by a mystic philosophy (in Hsieh's case, Taoism and Ch'an Buddhism) which sees all natural phenomena as symbols charged with a mysterious and cathartic power (to use Frodsham's definition). A
Eddie Watkins
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Sprawling, excessive poems of natural wonder and wildness. Though the surface of these poems seem to be the opposite of what one typically expects of old Chinese poetry, in their essence they are very simple: wild descriptions of wild landscapes (content mirroring subject) punctuated quite nakedly with a Taoist philosophy of submission to the natural forces animating the landscape and the poetry. Wild stuff with echoes of Wordsworth 1300 years before Wordsworth.

Returning Across The Lake From Ou
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hsieh Ling-yun (385-433 C.E.) is an undeniably important cultural figure, credited with virtually inventing the art form we call nature poetry. Or, as translator David Hinton more circumspectly phrases it in his introduction to this book, Hsieh Ling-yun "inaugurated" a "tradition" that "represents the earliest...literary engagement with wilderness in human history." (Hsieh was a prolific innovator: his inventions also included a "special cleated hiking shoe.")

When I read and review a book of poe
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry-authors
In ancient China, mountains were considered sacred objects where heaven and earth met. Rivers and mountains were experienced together as fundamental manifestations of earth's ch'iyang, and rivers yin.

Hsieh Ling-yun (385 to 433 CE) initiated the tradition of "rivers-and-mountains" (shan-shui) poetry that has gone on over the millennia. It mixes nature with our spiritual relationship to it.

His influence extended beyond poetry as the wild became central to all of the arts. Others were inspired to
J.M. Hushour
Feb 03, 2018 rated it liked it
These are a little weightier and thus a tad more repetitive than other poetries of its ilk. Although usually the density of form in shan-shui poetry is part of its charm, the reader being steeped in the wilderness aspect of the work, here it seems a little clunkier than usual. I can't fault Hinton, since he seems to be a faultless and thoughtful translator. The subtlety of Hsieh's work just might be buried a little too deeply. Or I'm a goddamn idiot. Or both? Hard to say. Let me compare it to th ...more
Mar 10, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Marko by: Kenneth

Hsieh Ling-Yun invented hiking boots. A great gift to the world.
David Gorgone
May 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
The only reason why I didn't give this book five stars is that it got a tad repetitive. Not so much that it made the book boring, but enough to make it not worth five stars. What is sad is that with all the guy had written only a small amount of it survived. He is considered the father of Mountain And Stream Poetry. Not having read much on the subject I am not sure what that exactly means except that he writes a lot about the mountain and streams near his home.
Arthur Rosenfeld
Oct 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I think incredibly highly of anything from this translator.
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Born in Shangyu, Zhejiang, his ancestry was from Taikang, Henan. Xie served as an official in the Eastern Jin and Liu Song dynasties, however factional intrigues led to his dismissal and exile. Later, because of his defiant attitude, he was arrested, and because he resisted when arrested, he was captured and executed in 433.

Xie was a devout Buddhist and was considered a nature or landscape poet fo