Burton Watson, award-winning translator of Chinese and Japanese literature and poetry, was born in New Rochelle, New York in 1925. When he was 17 years old, he dropped out of high school and joined the Navy. He experienced Japan through his weekly shore leaves while stationed at Yokosuka Harbor in 1945. Consequently, Watson attended Columbia University and majored in Chinese and Japanese studies. In 1951, he received a Ford Foundation Overseas Fellow and returned to Kyoto. Watson received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1956. He has taught English at Doshisha University in Kyoto, and Chinese at Stanford and Columbia. Columbia University's Translation Center awarded Watson the Gold Medal Award in 1979. Watson also won the PEN Translation Prize in 1981 for his translation of Hiroaki Sato of From the Country of Eight Islands: An Anthology of Japanese Poetry. He won this award again in 1995 for Selected Poems of Su Tung-p'o. Watson moved to Japan in 1973, where he currently resides.
Willis Barnstone was born in Lewiston, Maine. He attended Bowdoin, Columbia, and Yale, earning his doctorate. Barnstone taught in Greece from 1949 to 1951, and in Buenos Aires during the Dirty War. He went to China during the Cultural Revolution, where he was later a Fulbright Professor of American Literature at Beijing Foreign Studies University from 1984 to 1985. Barnstone has authored more than forty books, poetry collections, poetry translations, philosophical and religious texts. He is a former O'Connor Professor of Greek at Colgate University, is a Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature and is in the Institute of Biblical and Literary Studies at Indiana University. He has received numerous awards for his work, among them the Emily Dickinson Award, the W. H. Auden Award, and a PEN/Book-of-the-Month-Club Special Citation for translation. Barnstone was also a Guggenheim Fellow and Pulitzer Prize finalist in poetry. His titles include The Complete Poems of Sappho,, Translated with an Introduction, Ancient Greek Lyrics, Love Poems, and Cafï¿½ de l'Aube ï¿½ Paris, Dawn Cafï¿½ in Paris: Poems Composed in French and Their Translation in English.