Monday, October 1, 2012

Aimless Reading: The T's, Part 12 (Su Tung-P'o)

Selected Poems of Su Tung-P'o
Tung-P'o, Su
Selected Poems Su Tung-P'o
Tr. Burton Watson


Another from the library of Russel Pawlak. I haven't read it, but I intend to. Really I do.

I remember the day we went to look at his library. Russell was a very active person in the Buffalo Preservation community. I only met him once, but from what I understand he headed up the group that was trying to restore the old train station there. Turns out he was also an incredibly avid reader. When he died, his daughter asked Just Buffalo if we had any idea of what to do with all his books. We agreed to come take a look.

He lived in a two bedroom apartment in a building on Delaware Avenue. Every room was lined with books. He seemed to read everything, though I did notice a few areas of interest. He read a lot of Polish and Russian authors, a lot of Jewish authors, and a lot of authors like Gary Snyder, to whom, for instance, this book is dedicated.

We looked around and quickly determined that there was nothing useful we could do with these books, as none were terribly valuable and many were in pretty poor condition. I got on the phone and called Rust Belt Books, who immediately agreed to come by and take the whole lot. I remember Russell's daughter began to cry and she gaves us a big hug and a thank you and soon thereafter made a donation to Just Buffalo herself.

I took a few books and DVD's myself. He really did have a great library!

from The Selected Poems of Su Tung-P'o
Dipping Water from the River and Simmering Tea

Living water needs living fire to boil;

lean over Fishing Rock, dip the clear deep current;
store the spring moon in a big gourd, return it to the jar;
divide the night stream with a little dipper, drain it to the kettle.
Frothy water, simmering, whirls bits of tea;
pour it and hear the sound of wind in pines.
Hard to refuse three cups to a died up belly;
I sit and listen–from the old town, the striking of the hour.

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