An illustrated work of lyric poetry and prose on drinking green tea as a meditation.
An Homage to Green Tea is an illustrated collection of poetry and prose on the beneficence of green tea, and ways to experience that beneficence. It collects two works of classical Korean literature into a single volume.
“A Poem for Green Tea” is a long poem that includes short-short stories, legends, anecdotes, other related poems, excerpts from reference books about green tea, religious and spiritual (Buddhist/Taoist) writing, and Ch’oŭi’s notes to the poem. Taken as a whole, the poem seeks to authenticate the value of Korean green tea relative to Chinese green tea in a pleasing, aesthetic manner. “A Poem for Green Tea” ends with an epilogue poem in praise of Ch’oŭi’s unparalleled green tea.
“The Divine Life of Tea” is a collection of instructions on how to arrive at the best cup of green tea. It begins with superb locations for the cultivation of green tea, when to pick the leaves, how to prepare and store leaves, ideal types of water, grades of boiling water, the utensils to use in preparation of a cup of green tea, and the type of company one should keep—a list by no means comprehensive. “The Divine Life of Tea” ends with an epilogue by Ch’oŭi, describing his purpose and efforts in writing the manuscript.
Ch’oŭi, was a 19th Century Korean monk.
Ian Haight’s collection of poetry, Celadon, won Unicorn Press’ First Book Prize. With T’ae-yong Hŏ, he is the co-translator of Spring Mountain: Complete Poems of Nansŏrhŏn, forthcoming from White Pine Press. Other awards include Ninth Letter’s Literary Award in Translation and grants from the Daesan Foundation, the Korea Literary Translation Institute, and the Baroboin Buddhist Foundation. Poems, essays, interviews, reviews, microfiction, and translations appear in Barrow Street, Writer’s Chronicle, Hyundai Buddhist News, Full Stop, MoonPark Review and The Poetry Review (UK).
T’ae-yong Hŏ has been awarded translation grants from the Daesan Foundation and Korea Literature Translation Institute. With Ian Haight, he is the co-translator of Borderland Roads: Selected Poems of Kyun Hŏ—finalist for KLTI’s Grand Prix Prize—and Magnolia and Lotus: Selected Poems of Hyesim—finalist for ALTA’s Stryk Prize. Working from the original classical Korean, T’ae-yong’s translations of Korean poetry have appeared in Agni, New Orleans Review, and Prairie Schooner.
"Translated with the lightest of touches, simple and surprising, like green tea, itself." —Red Pine
“This delicious little collection is a kind of commonplace book about tea, yes, but it’s also a brilliantly poetic dive below the surface of one of life’s once-ordinary pleasures. I say once-ordinary because I’ll never be able to drink tea again without remembering the delicacy, power, and complexity with which it is described and appreciated here—the leaves “like sparrow’s tongues,” how water should be boiled in a stone kettle because “Stone is a condensation of the distinctive energies of sky and earth.” An Homage to Green Tea is an education and a treasure.”—Chase Twichell