To pay homage to China’s greatest poets, renowned translator Bill Porter—who is also known by his Chinese name “Red Pine”—traveled through China visiting dozens of poets’ graves and performing idiosyncratic rituals that featured Kentucky bourbon and reading poems aloud to the spirits. Combining travelogue, translations, history, and personal stories, this intimate and fast-paced tour of modern China celebrates inspirational landscapes and presents translations of classical poems, many of which have never before been translated into English. Porter is a former radio commentator based in Hong Kong who specialized in travelogues. As such, he is an entertaining storyteller who is deeply knowledgeable about Chinese culture, both ancient and modern, who brings readers into the journey—from standing at the edge of the trash pit that used to be Tu Mu’s grave to sitting in Han Shan’s cave where the Buddhist hermit “Butterfly Woman” serves him tea. Illustrated with over one hundred photographs and two hundred poems, Finding Them Gone combines the love of travel with an irrepressible exuberance for poetry.
“In the travel writing that has made him so popular in China, Porter’s tone is not reverential but explanatory, and filled with luminous asides.” —New York Review of Books
“Bill Porter has been one of the most prolific translators of Chinese texts, while also developing into a travel writer with a cult following.” —New York Times
“Red Pine’s succinct and informative notes for each poem are core samples of the cultural, political, and literary history of China.” —Asian Reporter
“Red Pine’s out-of-the-mainstream work is canny and clearheaded, and it has immeasurably enhanced Zen/Taoist literature and practice.” —Kyoto Journal