Lao-Tzu Tao-te Ching, Translations and Infusions
Lao-Tzu’s Tao-te Ching (the earliest version dated back to the late 4th Century, B.C.) has been translated to western languages over 250 times. Perhaps it doesn’t need another translation. But this great text has the power to command and compel writers. Its effect does not diminish over time; rather, it ceaselessly invites new eyes. Translating the Tao is an act of reverence, is to become yet another of its many manifestations. This poetic rendition is based on the Wang Bi (226–249 AD) text. While translating the Tao, the passages prompted responses, memories, and philosophical thoughts which Clara Hsu incorporated in this book as part of the journey. Sometimes the reactions had nothing to do with the texts. Like water diverted from its main stream or strange flowers appearing on an old stump, the extraordinary mind of the ancient sage flowed through time into the ordinary reality and psyche of a 21st century poet. You are constantly being surprised.
The First to Escape
The First to Escape is that rare volume of contemporary poetry that carries the weight of its ancient and modernist predecessors while remaining passionately engaged with its own time. It plunges the heights and depths and a myriad of other directions with a multitude of facets, faces and voices. Multicultural, multiethnic, yes, but intimate, not exotic, with openings into surprising and mysterious familiarity. “Brilliant darkness.” What Clara Hsu renders here is a deeply moving and masterfully articulated musical language – a poetry that draws us into a conversation beyond ourselves, beyond any closed idea of self. This is vital work by a fully realized poet. —Jake Berry
Read Christopher Bernard’s review on The First to Escape here.
Travel with Clara Hsu, San Francisco poet and writer, to Morocco’s ancient D’jamaa Elfna Square. See how the local inhabitants open their hearts to a stranger. Discover a masseuse’s generosity, a sorcerous story-teller, an obliging old street musician, and the rectitude of a young girl. Visit a fatherless boy who must grow up quickly in order for his family to survive. Find out what Moroccan hospitality really means. Every moment a story unfolds. Beneath the veneer of a different language and culture, we savor the common bond of human connection.