Guido Gozzano

October 9, 2011

A brief announcement: My wife and I are doing a translation of Guido Gozzano’s short fiction, to be published next year by Hieroglyphic. It will concentrate on his more fantastic works, though I use the term rather broadly.

2 things

May 7, 2011

1. a rather odd-ball review of The Life of Polycrates and Other Stories for Antiquated Children at Open Letters. I can’t quite decide if it is positive or negative.

2. a story my wife and I translated from the Italian, by Luigi Ugolini, will be published in Ann and Jeff VanderMeer’s forthcoming: THE WEIRD: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Fictions. I am very excited that Ugolini’s tale will be introduced to new readers in English.

Wonderwaan Mesh of Veins

June 23, 2010

The Dutch magazine Wonderwaan picked up my story Mesh of Veins for translation.

Li Yu, Charming blossoms . . .

July 7, 2008

Here is another poem by Li Yu. This one was also translated by my friend Bo Jiang and myself and was also originally printed in the same anthology mentioned in my first Li Yu post:

Charming blossoms in the grove are saying goodbye to crimsoning spring,
They are gone too soon,
It cannot be helped though since cold rain comes in the morning and rain at night.
She is crying; rouge melts with tears,
I am drunk with her asking me to stay,
“When will you be back?”
It is natural that the river keeps flowing east,
And men always feel regret.

Li Yu, Alone I ascended . . .

July 2, 2008

The following is a brief bio of Li Yu and a poem he wrote. This was translated by my friend Bo Jiang and myself from the Chinese. It was originally published in an anthology called Literature of Asia, Africa and Latin America (Prentice Hall 1999).

Li Yu [937-978] was the sixth son of Li Jing. He was enthroned in 961 at the age of twenty-four and was emperor of South Tang for fifteen years. In 975 his country was invaded by the Sung and conquered, leaving him in the position of a mere titular noble. On July 7, 978 the emperor Shong Tai Chong compelled him to take poison and he died at the age of forty-two. Most of his famous poetry was written in the period after his fall from power when he was forced to sit idly by and watch his country ruled by another.

A poem:


Alone I ascended West Tiered Manor in silence,

While the moon appeared like a hook.

The cool fall was locked in this maple garden, calm and quiet;


This thing cannot be cut,

It gets more messy trying to straighten out.

A melancholy departure,

And a raw feeling in my heart.

Bilingual Ekphrastic Poems by Alberto Nessi and Ericka Ghersi

November 13, 2007

A limited edition chapbook containing poetry by Alberto Nessi (translated from the Italian by my wife and I) is now available here, from Beauty/Truth Press

We just tranlated the Nessi stuff, not the poetry by Ericka Ghersi…

Anyhow, here is the publisher’s blurb:

A limited edition chapbook series created to showcase exemplary poems, launch editorial experiments, and explore artwork.  The third Collection features billingual ekphrastic poems aimed at coaxing out the subtlties of translation not only between languages, but between artistic mediums as well.

The Sutra of Immeasurable Life and Wisdom

September 17, 2007

The following is a text that I translated from Tibetan with a friend of mine, Roy Lee. As far as I know this text has never appeared anywhere in English before . . . but I could be wrong: 



Homage to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas!

Thus have I heard:

     At one time the Buddha was staying by Sravasti, in Prince Jeta’s Grove, the garden of Anathapindika, together with a large company of monks, even one thousand two hundred and fifty, and numerous great Bodhisattvas.

     Then Buddha said to the youthful Manjusri, “Manjusri, in the heavens there is a world called Immeasurable Excellence, wherein abides a Tathagata, an Arhat, a fully enlightened Buddha called Exceedingly Definite Immeasurable Life and Wisdom, King of Brilliance. He engages in sustaining life, extending it to its limit, as well as in demonstrating Dharma to sentient beings.

     “Listen youthful Manjusri! The people of Jambuling have a short life span, merely one hundred years, and in general they die prematurely.

     “Whatever sentient being, Manjusri, proclaims the good qualities of, and praises the Tathagata Exceedingly Definite Immeasurable Life and Wisdom, or copies down the words of this discourse on Dharma, has others copy them, or just hears the name of it, or reads it and copies it into a book, memorizes it at home etc., or offers it flowers, incense, garlands, ointments and aromatic powders, they will Manjusri, instead of having their life exhausted, live for one hundred years. Whatever sentient being, Manjusri, hears, one-hundred and eight times, the name Exceedingly Definite Immeasurable Life and Wisdom, King of Brilliance, will also have their life extended. Whatever sentient being, when their life is almost exhausted, recites this name will also have their life extended. Therefore Manjusri, a son of a good family, or daughter of a good family, who, wishing to have a long life, hears the name of the Tathagata Immeasurable Life and Wisdom one hundred and eight times, or writes it down, asks another to write it down, or reads it, their excellence and well being will also be so. 

     Om Namo Bhagavate, Aparimita Ayurjnana Subinishchitate Jorajaya, Tathagataya. Om Punye Punye Mahapunye, Aparimita Punye Aparimita Punye Jnana Sambharopachite. Om Sarva Samskara Parishuddha Dharmate Gaganasa Mudgate Sabhava Bishudbhe Mahanaya Parivare Svaha.

     “Manjusri, whoever copies down the name of this Tathagata one-hundred and eight times, or has others copy it, or, memorizing it, copies it into a book, or reads it-whoever does this will, instead of having their life exhausted, live for one hundred years. And, at the time of their death, they will transmigrate to places such as the pureland of the Tathagata Immeasurable Life, The World of Immeasurable excellence. Read the rest of this entry »

The Heart Sutra

July 18, 2007

This is something I translated some time ago from the Tibetan:


The Heart of The Buddha’s Perfection of Wisdom

Homage to the Buddha’s Perfection of Wisdom

     Thus have I heard: At one time the Buddha was staying at Vulture Peak, by Rajagriha, with a great congregation of monks and Bodhisattvas.

     At that time the Buddha entered into a profound and vivid meditation, a samadhi, called Recognizing the True Nature of Things. Meanwhile Arya Avalokitesvara, the great Bodhisattva, was practicing the perfection of wisdom and having his own profound insight, that is, seeing that the five skandhas are empty of inherent existence.

     Then, through the Buddha’s magical power, the venerable Sariputra asked Arya Avalokitesvara, “Concerning this profound perfection of wisdom, if a son of a good family, or daughter of a good family happened to want to study it, what would they be taught?”

     At these words Arya Avalokitesvara replied to the venerable Sariputra, “Sariputra, if a son of a good family, or daughter of a good family happened to want to study this profound perfection of wisdom, he must look at things like this: There are five skandhas and these, when really seen, are seen to be empty of inherent existence. Form is emptiness. Emptiness is form. Form is no different from emptiness; emptiness is no different from form. In the same way are feelings, discriminations, actions and consciousness also empty.

     “Therefore Sariputra, the true nature of things is empty, without attributes, without beginning or end, immaculate, not lost or disconnected, and neither complete nor incomplete. Therefore Sariputra, emptiness is formless, unknown, without eyes, ears, nose or tongue – devoid of a scent, a flavor, and intangible. Without a true nature. This follows through, from there being no ignorance, yet ignorance being inexhaustible, all the way to there being no old age and death, and yet old age and death being inexhaustible. Likewise there is no suffering, origin of suffering, cessation of suffering, and no path. Nor is there any wisdom, attainment, or anything to be attained. Therefore Sariputra, Bodhisattvas, on account of their being supported by this profound perfection of wisdom, abiding without any mental obstructions, and not being frightened by erroneous views, have nothing to attain – for they have gone beyond, as far as they can go, to nirvana.

     “That is why all the Buddhas of the past, present and future come to this profound perfection of wisdom and enter into it – enter into it recognizing complete and perfect enlightenment.

     “Therefore one should know the mantra of the perfection of wisdom, the great magic formula, the highest mantra, the unequaled mantra – one should know the mantra of the perfection of wisdom because it is the truth and not a lie. It goes: Tadyatha Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha.

     “In this way Sariputra do great Bodhisattvas train in the profound perfection of wisdom.”

     Then the Buddha emerged from his meditation and, turning to Arya Avalokitesvara, gave his approval, saying, “Well done son of a good family, very well done. It is just like that son of a good family, it is just like that. For, just as you describe the practice of this profound perfection of wisdom, so do all the Tathagatas rejoice in it.”

     After the Buddha pronounced these words, Sariputra, Arya Avalokitesvara, the great Bodhisattva, and the whole congregation and world with its gods, humans, asuras and ghandarvas all praised his speech.

So ends the Heart Sutra