SONGS OF LOVE, MOON AND WIND: Poems From the Chinese, translated by Kenneth Rexroth, selected by Eliot Weinberger. New York: New Directions, 2009, 90 pp., $12.95 (paper)

Translation from one language to another, particularly that of poetry, remains problematic. As one of the finest of the translators from Japanese to English, the late Edward Seidensticker, once said: "Translation is a series of impossible decisions."

Ideally, he added, the translators should be like a counterfeiter in that his aim is to imitate the original down to the last detail. If he makes George Washington more handsome than George Washington is on the dollar bill, he is not a good counterfeiter.