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In this transformative book, award-winning poet and essayist James Lenfestey makes an epic journey across the world to find the Cold Mountain Cave, a location long believed to exist only in myths and the ancient home of his idol, Han Shan, author of the Cold Mountain poems. Lenfestey’s voyage takes him from the Midwestern United States to Tokyo to a road trip across the expanse of China with frequent excursions to the country’s rich historical and cultural landmarks. As he makes his way to the cave, Lenfestey learns more than history or geography; he discovers his identity as a writer and a poet. Interspersed with poems by both the author and Han Shan, Seeking the Cave will appeal to lovers of poetry and travel narrative alike.
An award-winning academic, advertising executive, and journalist, James Lenfestey has published four poetry collections and a book of personal essays. The chair of the Literary Witnesses poetry series, he lives in Minneapolis.
Table of Contents
My Own Private China
FINDING THE PATH
On the Road Between Two Hurricanes Encounter with the Arch-Translator Passage to More than Kyoto Kyoto Koan Rendezvous at Narita Beijing: The Biggest Bell in the World In Xanadu Did Genghis Khan Jia Dao and the Riddle of Sound and Sense
BOOK I I
FROM BUDDHIST TEMPLES TO SOARING CRANES
Buddhists for the Night Breakfast with Confucius Speedways, Corn Roads, and Apple Lanes Ordinary and Extraordinary Graves Du Fu’s Sorrow Bai Juyi’s Idle Droning” What the Old Master Wrote The Soaring Cranes of Xi’an Road to Heaven First Adventure in Hermit Hunting An Evening with Dr. Hu Turtles All the Way Down
BOOK I I I
SLEEPLESS DREAMS TO DREAMLESS SLEEP
Give It Its True Name Moon Music Drinking Wine with Li Bai Two Depressing Poems in Wuhu Beginning-to-Believe Peak The Floating World of Poet-Engineers Six” and the Single Traveler Cold Mountain: Whose Story Is It? The Hermit of Cold Mountain "The Birds and Their Chatter” The Nun’s Priest’s Tale One New God Meanwhile, Back in the Ka-ching