Scribbles Between Shanghai and Hangzhou

Da Tsenpo

(translated from the Tibetan by Lowell Cook)


dust and fog and the reek of decay and

bustle and cramming and chaos and

suspicions and naivety and anxiety and


a dance of masks and

an illusion of conversation and

a sickness of the mind and


factories and products and machines and

apartments and roads and fields and

crowds and government employees and soldiers and

executives and businessmen and scholars and

students and thieves and young girls and

foreigners and sightseers and me and


a highspeed train and

this poem.


(The original Tibetan poem, hrenghé né hengtrik bar gyi gyokdri, [Tib. ཧྲེང་ཧེ་ནས་ཧེང་ཀྲིག་བར་གྱི་མགྱོགས་བྲིས།] was published in the author’s collection, da tsenpö tsom tü [Tib. མདའ་བཙན་པོའི་རྩོམ་བཏུས།])


Da Tsenpo (Tib. མདའ་བཙན་པོ།) is from the Amdo region. As an author of both free-verse and metered poetry in addition to short stories, his collected works measure over 450 pages. Da Tsenpo’s verse poetry is a leading example of Tibet’s ‘Third Generation’ poetry scene. The Third Generation seeks to sever all connections to the classical Indian poetry that had influenced Tibetan poetry since the 13th century. Da Tsenpo’s noir aesthetic and unrestrained verse represent the defining aesthetics of the Third Generation.

Lowell Cook is a lover, reader, and researcher of the entire breadth of Tibetan literature, from the ancient Dunhuang manuscripts to contemporary poetry. His aspiration is to be able to share some of the richness of Tibetan literature with the world. He completed his MA in Translation, Philology, and Textual Interpretation at the Rangjung Yeshe Institute in Nepal.