Here is a graphic-novel portrait of the wild antics and legendary poetry of two of China’s greatest poets. Han Shan (known as “Cold Mountain”) and Shih Te lived during the Tang dynasty (618–906 C.E.), and were critics of authority (both secular and religious) and champions of social justice. They left their poetry on tree trunks and rocks, and they were also reportedly monastics, drunks, cave dwellers, immortals, and many other unconventional and wondrous things. There is much delightful uncertainty about this “Laughing Pair”—including whether or not they actually even existed. What is known is that the poetry attributed to them was hugely influential in both China and Japan, and to the Beat writers in the United States during the 1950s and ’60s.
Acclaimed manga creator Sean Michael Wilson, along with illustrator Akiko Shimojima and expert translator J. P. Seaton, brings these renegade poets to life, revealing their humor and wackiness and also their penetrating insights into the human condition.