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Three Hundred Tang Poems written by Peter Harris

 

Three Hundred Tang Poems written by Peter Harris

Overview:

A new translation of a beloved anthology of poems from the golden age of Chinese culture—a treasury of wit, beauty, and wisdom from many of China’s greatest poets.

These roughly three hundred poems from the Tang Dynasty (618–907)—an age in which poetry and the arts flourished—were gathered in the eighteenth century into what became one of the best-known books in the world, and which is still cherished in Chinese homes everywhere. Many of China’s most famous poets—Du Fu, Li Bai, Bai Juyi, and Wang Wei—are represented by timeless poems about love, war, the delights of drinking and dancing, and the beauties of nature. There are poems about travel, about grief, about the frustrations of bureaucracy, and about the pleasures and sadness of old age.

Full of wisdom and humanity that reach across the barriers of language, space, and time, these poems take us to the heart of Chinese poetry, and into the very heart and soul of a nation.

Synopsis:

A new translation of a beloved anthology of poems from the golden age of Chinese culture—a treasury of wit, beauty, and wisdom from many of China’s greatest poets.

These roughly three hundred poems from the Tang Dynasty (618–907)—an age in which poetry and the arts flourished—were gathered in the eighteenth century into what became one of the best-known books in the world, and which is still cherished in Chinese homes everywhere. Many of China’s most famous poets—Du Fu, Li Bai, Bai Juyi, and Wang Wei—are represented by timeless poems about love, war, the delights of drinking and dancing, and the beauties of nature. There are poems about travel, about grief, about the frustrations of bureaucracy, and about the pleasures and sadness of old age.

Full of wisdom and humanity that reach across the barriers of language, space, and time, these poems take us to the heart of Chinese poetry, and into the very heart and soul of a nation.

Excerpt:

FOREWORD

The Tang dynasty (618–907) was the golden age of Chinese poetry. Much the best-known anthology of Tang poems in Chinese is Three Hundred Tang Poems, and this book is a new translation of all the poems in that anthology. It includes the work of many of China’s most admired poets, among them Du Fu and Li Bai as well as Bai Juyi, Li Shangyin andWangWei.

Compiledin the eighteenth centuryby the scholarSun Zhu, the original Three Hundred Tang Poems is divided up by type of poem, rather than author. There are three main types. ‘Old-style poems’, which come at the beginning of the anthology, are poems of any length. ‘Regulated poems’ are eight lines long, with stricter rules about rhyme and tone, and two couplets in the middle that each have matching lines. ‘Cut-off lines’, which Sun Zhu puts at the end, are poems with just four lines each. Nearly all the poems have five or seven characters per line, with the five-character poems coming first.

Here the poems are given by poet, in alphabetical order of name in romanized (pinyin) form. Then under each poet the poems are all arranged by type, as in the original. (Nearly all of them, anyway—a few have been rearranged for reasons of space.) There are some short notes at the back with explanations of names and other references.

Peter Harris

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Title: Three Hundred Tang Poems

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