Literary Witnesses presents Bill Porter (AKA Red Pine)
Location: Plymouth Congregational Church
Day of the Week: Monday
Time: 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Bill Porter, AKA Red Pine, will read ancient Chinese poems and discuss his latest book, Finding Them Gone: Visiting China’s Poets of the Past (Copper Canyon Press) at 7pm Monday, April 3, at Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet Ave (at Franklin). Co-sponsored by Rain Taxi Review of Books and The Loft Literary Center, the event is free, with plenty of free parking.
Porter is an American Buddhist who has become a legendary China traveler and, as Red Pine, an equally legendary translator of ancient Chinese poetry and Buddhist texts. In 1970 he dropped out of Columbia University to enter a Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. After four years living and practicing Zen, he left the monastery, married and eventually was hired by Taiwanese and Hong Kong English-language radio stations to record stories of his mainland travels. He delivered over a thousand, from the borderlands of wildwest drug smugglers to windswept mountaintop Buddhist hermitages. Among his discoveries along the way were poets and Buddhist and Taoist monks and nuns still living the hermetic tradition thought eradicated in the Cultural Revolution. In 1993 he returned to the States with his family and settled in Port Townsend, Washington.
His business card reads, "translator." He was the first to translate the Collected Songs of Cold Mountain, first to translate the entire ancient anthology, Poems of The Masters, first to translate the poetry of fourteenth century Buddhist recluse Stonehouse, and many others, all accompanied by his detailed geographical, historical and literary commentary. He has also translated Buddhist sutras, including Heart Sutra, Diamond Sutra, and Platform Sutra. His memoir of visiting the ancient hermits of China, Road To Heaven, has been translated into Chinese.
His latest book from Copper Canyon, Finding Them Gone: Visiting China’s Poets Of The Past, describes his extensive visits to the shrines and territories of China's most revered poets, a travelers literary encyclopedia like no other.
Literary Witnesses, a program of Plymouth’s Fine Arts Board, hosts poets whose work draws on and illuminates the life of the spirit, and has included four U.S. Poet Laureates and both MN Poet Laureates.