Q: What poets influenced you?

A: Over time, the ancient Chinese poets, Li Bai and Du Fu, have been an important influence. I first translated some of their poems into English over fifty years ago, and, more recently, in assembling an expanded edition of my translations of Chinese poetry, The Silk Dragon II (Copper Canyon, 2024), I translated some more of their poems into English and found renewed inspiration in their work. 

Q: What was the last work of art (poem or painting or?) that moved and inspired you?

A: I have been looking recently at Pat Steir’s “waterfall” paintings and am really enjoying them.

Q: What is the best piece of writing advice you have ever received?

A: Many decades ago, Lillian Hellman told me that she knew nothing about poetry but said she had some important advice for me. She said, “Don’t ever stop writing. If you stop, you will lose all your momentum.”