Renowned translator of Chinese texts at two events on Jan. 26 and Jan. 27


CORVALLIS, Ore. – Bill Porter, a noted translator of ancient Chinese poetry and texts, will give a reading and slide show about his travels in China on Thursday, Jan. 26, at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, 645 NW Monroe Ave. The free public event begins at 7 p.m.

Porter’s main books of translation, published under the name Red Pine, include three major Buddhist texts: “The Platform Sutra,” “The Diamond Sutra,” and “The Heart Sutra.” The Port Townsend, Wash., resident is also the author of “Zen Baggage” and “Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits.”

 He has received two translation fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a PEN Translation Prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Following a tour in the United States Army, Porter entered a Buddhist monastery in Taiwan in 1972. After more than three years working with monks and nuns, he began teaching English, working as a journalist at English language radio stations in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and working on translations of Chinese poetry and Buddhist texts.

In a second appearance at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, in the Memorial Union Journey Room at Oregon State University, Porter will read from his recent translations of Chinese poetry. He’ll be joined for this free public reading by poet Eric Paul Shaffer. Shaffer is author of five books of poetry, including “Lāhaina Noon” and “Portable Planet.” He teaches at Honolulu Community College.

Both events are sponsored by the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word, with additional sponsorship of Friday’s program by the OSU Department MFA in Creative Writing Program and the OSU Beaver Store.