Chia Tao (779-843), an erstwhile Zen monk who became a poet during China's Tang dynasty, recorded the lives of the sages, masters, immortals, and hermits who helped establish the great spiritual tradition of Zen Buddhism in China.
Presented in both the original Chinese and Mike O'Connor's beautifully crafted English translation, When I Find You Again, It Will Be in Mountains brings to life this preeminent poet and his glorious religious tradition, offering the fullest translation of Chia Tao's poems to date.
"It is astonishing that Chia Tao, a uniquely clear-tempered poet of hard luck, Zen sobriety, and durable friendship, has not had a full translation until now. The wait has been worth it... A crisp introduction and well informed bibliography are all the more reason to light a stick of incense."
– Andrew Schelling, author of A Possible Bag
"Chia Tao's lyric poems have exercised a profound influence on the Buddhist poetry of China and the countries within the Chinese cultural sphere. Mike O'Connor's renderings, accurate and eminently readable, seem to me to represent an unusually happy meeting of poet and translator, one that will please poetry lovers and students of Chinese culture alike."
– Burton Watson, translator, The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu
"Mike O'Connor's precise, elegant translations bring to life the poetry of the cold, lean Chia Tao, certainly one of the most existential Buddhist poets of the T'ang (or any other) dynasty. A true master of the lu-shih, or modern poem written in the plain style, Chia Tao arrives like an old friend with his Chuang Tzu and wine."
– Sam Hamill, editor, The Essential Bassho
"These poems startle with the recognition of the tenderness and strengths of a life lived in humble isolation. Mike O'Connor has done a fine poet's job of translation here. His ear and phrasing are incisive, the pictures are both stark and lovely."
– Anne Waldman, poet, Naropa University
"O'Connor combines scholarly intentions with creative inspiration... he transports the reader into Chia Tao's mountains through his concise and sonorous translations... This soulful book will appeal to readers interested in poetry and/or Asian religion and literature; it could also play a role in general survey courses in Chinese literature."
"Perfectly translated by Mike O'Connor, this new collection is an astonishing glimpse into the rhythms of an ancient era and the mindframe of a poet whose thoughts and language are more than relevant today... The power of Chia Tao's poetry lies in its grace and subtle turn of phrase; he is the rare writer who achieves emotional depth with spare, minimalist yet subtle observations... When I Find You presents the English translations of Chia Tao's poetry alongside the original Chinese text, and a slender glossary carefully explains the nuances and references to points of geography and history which many readers may not recognize. For anyone seeking greatness in poetic expression, When I Find You is the very best place to start. This single volume is truly a literary gift for both the student of Zen Buddhism's distinct theological process and those who revere the power of the written word."
"A deeply moving book of translations by a single Chinese poet that other translators have overlooked... illustrated with stunning black and white photographs. They offer a glimpse of the continuity of human experience-friendship, loss, loneliness and exile-and the momentary transcendence that comes with the calls of wild swans at dawn or the sound of an evening bell in winter mountains."
– Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader
"Wonderfully limpid, lucid poems, suffused with simple longing. Their particular delight is that Chia Tao seldom does more than render concrete details, yet, without the merest hint from the poet, these concrete details seem magically to acquire tremendous significance. This clear and highly readable translation, the fullest of Chia Tao yet to appear, is assisted by an excellent introduction and glossary. And it is a welcome correction to the West's neglect of an important poems."
"You couldn't hope for a more inviting introduction to Chia Tao."
– Oyster Boy Review
"Read at the right moment and from a meditative place, poetry can strike a deep chord of wisdom within the heart--these poems by Chia Tao touch that place. His poetry unfolds the unseen path of being, [finding] the invisible ground where monastic ideals merge with worldly realities. A vibrant mosaic of change and noble truth."