. . . superior to anything I’ve ever seen in Chinese, and about the same for English.
David Hinton is the best English language translator of classic Chinese poetry we have, and have had for decades. The translations read in English as though they were written in it originally. A magician’s grace glows through all of the poems, a grace and ease uncommonly found, uncommonly masterful.
(Thornton Wilder Lifetime Achievement Prize Citation: American Academy of Arts and Letters)
Hinton's achievement is a gift to our language.
Hinton’s austerely beautiful translations . . . have always gone against the grain. He has been building, translation by translation, an English language for the Chinese conceptual world. . . In the twentieth century, Chinese poetry was translated into the American idiom by modernists like Ezra Pound and later poets including Kenneth Rexroth and Gary Snyder with a lightness of touch, a beguiling simplicity. Hinton is after the opposite: depth and boundlessness.
(The New York Review of Books: Madeleine Thien)
A gorgeous book, a book of power . . .
I couldn’t put this guidebook down, into the night, a diamond moon over my shoulder and suddenly it was radiant dawn. A unique and dazzling achievement.
I love this book! . . . a rich resource that open doors to the heart of Zen.
(Roshi Joan Halifax)
. . . nothing less than a publishing miracle.
(The Barnes and Noble Review)
. . . something akin to a magical artifact, full of potential energies and untapped motes of poetic inspiration.
. . . an utterly engrossing and thrilling account of the deepest treasures the Zen/Ch’an path can open up, as it leads us into the manifest yet hidden wonders of who we really are. This thoroughly gripping book pulls together various threads of David Hinton’s important prior work into one powerful, concise masterwork. May it echo through modern zendos for decades to come.
(Roshi Henry Shukman)
[Hinton is a] rare example of a literary Sinologist—that is, a classical scholar thoroughtly conversant with, and connected to, contemporary literature in English.
(New York Review of Books: Eliot Weinberger)
David Hinton is a fabulous translator. This book is luminous and transparent. You can see the light of the original Chinese masters shining through.
( Roshi John Tarrant)
Hinton has established himself as the premier Chinese translator of our generation . . . He is a national treasure.
(The New York Sun)
Magnificent . . . majesterial.
(The New Republic)
. . . affords us what is all too rare in Chinese translations: the sustained, recognizable resonance of a single voice at a single moment . . . This is a real contribution to the small body of genuine poetic translation.
Hinton’s music is subtle, modulated . . . He has listened to the individual tone of each poet, and his craft is equal to his perception . . . He continues to enlarge our literary horizon.
(Rosemary Waldrop: citation for Landon Translation Prize, American Academy of Poets)
Given the magnitude of his ability and his overall project, Hinton is creating nothing less than a new literary tradition in English . . .