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Under the Lemon Tree

Poetry by George Scarbrough

Edited by Robert B. Cumming and Rebecca P. Mobbs

180 Pages
$20. 00
ISBN: 978-1-60454-214-1

 

George Scarbrough was introduced to the Han-shan poems in the early 1990s in a 1962 translation by Burton Watson, and he recognized a kindred spirit. The reaction was immediate and enduring. Han-shan was a legendary eighth-century Chinese recluse, the most mysterious but least polished of the important T’ang Dynasty poets, and also the most resonant with many in the West. He called himself Han-shan, which literally translates into “Cold Mountain” in English. Scarbrough saw most of the themes that recur in his own writings, often in a veiled form, simply and clearly expressed in the Han-shan translations in Watson’s little book. The rejection, isolation, solitude, desire for reconciliation, love of nature and the natural order, reaction to bigotry and corruption, and many other things were all there. Scarbrough started writing about his ever present rural county concerns in the voice of an old recluse who lived in a cave half-way around the world thirteen hundred years ago and who addressed the abuses in Imperial China in clear and simple language. He moved the old Chinese recluse to the land between the Hiwassee and the Ocoee Rivers in rural Polk County. The old sage has never seemed more at home. Under the Lemon Tree is a selection of 102 poems of the several hundred resulting from that translocation.

 

 

 

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