Chinese scholar, poet translator Bill Porter addresses authors luncheon

Photo of Bill Porter who will present at luncheon, book signing and lecture, undated | Photo courtesy of the Literary Cafe Utah, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Janice Brooks and The Literary Cafe Utah presents “To Live, To Dance, To Translate” at an authors luncheon, lecture and book signing featuring the American writer, translator and sinologist Bill Porter at noon, Wednesday, at Green Valley Spa, 1871 W. Canyon View Drive, St George.

Tickets are $30 and are available online.

In this lecture, Porter, who writes often under the pen name Red Pine, will share his unique story of learning the Chinese language and practicing in the Zhongnan Mountains: combining the experience and the historical anecdotes he wrote about in his book “Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits.”

Porter has been engaged in language translation and translating Chinese poetry for almost 40 years. He discovered that translating was the best way to understand a culture. For Porter, translation is a kind of dance.

He will discuss the language of poetic translation, not just as a scholarly endeavor, but as a lifestyle and meditative art.

Porter attended University of California, Santa Barbara, majoring in anthropology before entering graduate school at Columbia University in 1970. While living in New York he became interested in Buddhism, and left America in 1972 for a Buddhist monastery in Taiwan.

He later worked as a journalist at English language radio stations in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and meanwhile began translating Chinese poetry and Buddhist texts.

In 1993, he relocated to Washington state and began lecturing regularly at universities in the U.S., England and Germany on Chinese history, culture, poetry and religion.

Porter is a noted translator of numerous Taoist and Buddhist poems and sutras. Among his works are “Diamond Sutra,” “Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits” and “The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain.”

Event details

  • What: Bill Porter, author luncheon, book signing and lecture
  • When: Sept. 9, noon
  • Where: Green Valley Spa, 1871 W. Canyon View Drive, St George
  • Tickets are $30 and are available at online
  • The Literary Cafe website | Facebook 

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