Out of print for decades until now, Burton Watson's masterful translations of fu, an ancient form of Chinese poetry, bring to life deserted cities, goddesses, and owls, and, above all, stand as one of the most critical contributions to our understanding of Chinese poetry.
Burton Watson is the foremost English-language translator of classical Chinese and Japanese literature. Among his many books are individual translated volumes of the poets Tu Fu, Su Tung-p'o, Han Shan, Lu Yu, Po Chu-yi, Gensei, and Ryokan; the philosophers Chuang Tzu, Confucius, Mencius, Mo Tzu, Hsun Tzu, and Han Fei Tzu; the historian Ssu-ma Ch'ien; and Buddhist texts such as The Lotus Sutra and The Vimalakirti Sutra. He is the editor and translator of The Columbia Book of Chinese Poetry and, with Hiroaki Sato, of a prolific anthology of Japanese poetry, From the Country of Eight Islands. He received the Gold Medal Award presented by the Translation Center at Columbia University in 1979 and the PEN Translation Prize twice, in 1981 and 1995. He lives in Japan. Lucas Klein's translations include Notes on the Mosquito: Selected Poems by Xi Chuan, which won the Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize from the American Literary Translators Association. He lives in Hong Kong.
"Burton Watson is the inventor of classical East Asian poetry for our time....Not that Watson is only a translator of poetry: he has made Bronze Age Chinese philosophy, medieval Japanese sagas, sutras originating in Sanskrit, and modern Japanese scholarship on Chinese literary history as accessible to readers of English as Herodotus, Livy, and Johnson had been for generations." --PEN Translation Committee citation, on the occassion of Burton Watson winning the 2015 PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation "Brilliant, argument-starting....Watson's own interpretations are uniformly stunning; it's an absolute treasure to have this volume back in print....at every turn he makes simple, intelligent decisions on how best to bring across (the literal province of translation) the rich atmospherics of the originals." --Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly "To translate the fu into English is by no means an easy task, and Professor Watson should be congratulated on his commendable achievement in handling these difficult and recondite materials....The translations as a whole are both accurate and enjoyably readable." --Journal of Asian Studies "Burton Watson's lifelong dedication to Chinese literature [is] a gift to us all." --Gary Snyder "His erudition, his deep familiarity with and his evident love of the source, and the delicacy and precision of his own English have given us an invaluable body of renderings from the vast tradition of Chinese poetry." --W.S. Merwin "Burton Watson is a superb translator because he knows what literature is." --Robert Aitken Praise for the Calligrams series: "All things must have their beginnings, and this beginning of the 'Calligram' imprint is quite promising...These are inviting volumes. Their invitation is threefold, three volumes to kick off a series that deserves a long life and a wide readership." --Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly