Episode 9

A Mountain Poem


December 18th, 2018

11 mins 21 secs

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Special Guest

About this Episode

In this episode, Westminster College Environmental Studies Professor Xiumei Pu sends us into winter with a reading of a poem by Tao Chien (translated by David Hinton). The episode is, perhaps, best enjoyed with a glass of wine.

Jeff Nichols and Brent Olson co-direct the Institute for Mountain Research and our 2018-2019 Mountain Fellows are Katie Saad and Naomi Shapiro. Our theme song is “Home” by Pixie and the Partygrass Boys.. As Naomi likes to say, “They are awesome and you should check them out.”

Episode Links

  • The Selected Poems of T'ao Ch'ien — The Selected Poems of T'ao Ch'ien brings into English some of the most important poetry in all of Chinese literature. As David Hinton writes in his Introduction, T'ao Ch'ien "stands at the head of the great Chinese poetic tradition like a revered grandfather: profoundly wise, self-possessed, quiet, comforting." T'ao gained quasi-mythic status for his commitment to life as a recluse-farmer, despite poverty and hardship, and his poetry mirrors that life. Its unassuming surface reveals a rich philosophical depth, for which he became an honored figure in the Zen tradition.
  • Hunger Mountain: A Field Guide to Mind and Landscape — ome along with David Hinton on a series of walks through the wild beauty of Hunger Mountain, near his home in Vermont—excursions informed by the worldview he’s imbibed from his many years translating the classics of Chinese poetry and philosophy. His broad-ranging discussion offers insight on everything from the mountain landscape to the origins of consciousness and the Cosmos, from geology to Chinese landscape painting, from parenting to pictographic oracle-bone script, to a family chutney recipe. It’s a spiritual ecology that is profoundly ancient and at the same time resoundingly contemporary. Your view of the landscape—and of your place in it—may never be the same.
  • Pixie & The Partygrass Boys