It is with deep sadness, mixed with appreciation for such a fruitful life, that we share the news that prolific author and a great scholar of East Asian art, Stephen Addiss, passed away on May 11th, 2022.

Stephen was a Professor of Art at the University of Richmond in Virginia. A scholar-artist, he has exhibited his ink paintings and calligraphy in Asia, Europe, and the United States. He was also the author or coauthor of more than thirty books and catalogues about East Asian arts, including, with Audrey Yoshiko Seo, The Sound of One Hand: The Paintings and Calligraphy of Zen Master Hakuin.

His gorgeous and classic Art of Haiku is being reissued and released in September 2022.  You can read some of the introduction here.

He was also co-translator with Stanley Lombardo of one of the most popular editions of the Tao Te Ching.

What makes this translation of the Tao Te Ching unique is expressed in the introduction:

After examining previous translations, we came to realize that there were four things we could attempt that were different and potentially useful. First, we wanted to translate rather than explain the text. The Tao Te Ching is always terse, and sometimes enigmatic. Previous translators have often offered explications rather than pure translations; they explained what they thought Lao-tzu meant rather than what he said. We have chosen to let the text speak for itself as much as possible.

Second, we found that earlier translations, because they often paraphrase the text, tend to be verbose, extending the concise Chinese text into much longer sentence patterns. To some extent this is inevitable. Chinese consists of a single monosyllable for each word and often does not mark such grammatical features as tense and number. Any intelligible English translation must use more words and syllables than the original text, but we believe that it is possible to recreate much of the terse diction and staccato rhythm of the ancient Chinese. Therefore we have kept, as much as possible, to the bare bones of the language, favoring Anglo-Saxon monosyllables over Latinate polysyllables. In this way we have tried to preserve some of the flavor of the original text.

Third, we have completely avoided gender-specific pronouns. The original Chinese does not have the pronouns he or she, but previous translators have inserted he to refer to the Taoist Sage. It could be argued that most early Taoists may have been male, but the Tao Te Ching often praises the female spirit, and there is no reason why the text does not apply to women as well as to men. Therefore we have been gender neutral in our translation.

Finally, we have provided an interactive element in our translation. Since no version can replace the original text as a document, not only will each generation retranslate and reinterpret the text, but each reader should have some direct contact with the original words. We have therefore provided a transliteration of one line in each section, together with the original Chinese characters, keyed to a glossary.

For a fuller biography, see the American Haiku Archives where he also served as curator.

His website is at

Stephen was also a musician with 14 LPs to his credit.  Here he is singing from sometime in the 1960s.

The Art of Haiku

$29.95 - Paperback

Tao Te Ching

Taught by: Stephen Addiss & Stanley Lombardo & Lao Tzu

$22.95 - Hardcover