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One Hundred Poems from the Chinese (New Directions Book)by Kenneth Rexroth
In this groundbreaking work, Kenneth Rexroth gives us some of the most beautiful poems ever translated from the ancient Chinese. They read strikingly well, both as translations and as English-language poems.
Synopses & Reviews
The lyric poetry of Tu Fu ranks with the greatest in all world literature. Across the centuries—Tu Fu lived in the T'ang Dynasty (731-770)—his poems come through to us with an immediacy that is breathtaking in Kenneth Rexroth's English versions. They are as simple as they are profound, as delicate as they are beautiful.
Thirty-five poems by Tu Fu make up the first part of this volume. The translator then moves on to the Sung Dynasty (10th-12th centuries) to give us a number of poets of that period, much of whose work was not previously available in English. Mei Yao Ch'en, Su Tung P'o, Lu Yu, Chu Hsi, Hsu Chao, and the poetesses Li Ch'iang Chao and Chu Shu Chen. There is a general introduction, biographical and explanatory notes on the poets and poems, and a bibliography of other translations of Chinese poetry.
"What is meaning? No matter, answers this collection of ninety-one poems, for our experience is too impoverished of this mysterious quantity to evaluate it. There is in excess impressionability—voluptuous luxury of phrase to fill our senses. Thus does Rexroth whisper without conversing, in beautiful lament of passing sensations, of 'fallen cherry blossoms.' Each line of poetry a long-considered stroke, it is poetry of climax and of momentary sensations. A constant love of life glows pale and fades warm with an acceptance of fatigue and sorrow, loss and loneliness. Included are adaptations from Oriental poetry, translations of the poetess Marichiki, and collaborations in translation of Chinese poets with Ling Chung." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
Selected translations from the poetry of the Sung Dynasty together with thirty-five poems by Tu Fu.
The lyrical world of Chinese poetry in faithful translations by Kenneth Rexroth.
About the Author
Poet-essayist Kenneth Rexroth (1905-1982) was a high-school dropout, disillusioned ex-Communist, pacifist, anarchist, rock-climber, critic and translator, mentor, Catholic-Buddhist spiritualist and a prominent figure of San Francisco's Beat scene. He is regarded as a central figure of the San Francisco Renaissance and is among the first American poets to explore traditional Japanese forms such as the haiku.
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