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1. A Little Primer of Tu Fu
2. Selected Poems of Tu Fu
3. Endless River: Li Po and Tu Fu
4. Tu Fu--a new translation
5. Tu Fu,: China's greatest poet
6. Tu Fu: Selected Poems
7. Reconsidering Tu Fu: Literary
8. Song of Peace: Eluard, Guillen,
9. Ruan Ji's Island and (Tu Fu) in
10. Tu Fu, (Twayne's world authors
11. Li Po and Tu Fu; (Penguin Classics)
12. I Didn't Notice the Mountain Growing
13. Li Po and Tu Fu: Poems Selected
14. Facing the Snow: Visions of Tu
15. Five T'ang Poets
16. Thirty-Six Poems By Tu Fu translated
17. Tu Fu: Wanderer and Minstrel Under
18. Tu Fu Comes to America: A Story
19. Tu Fu, China's Greatest Poet

1. A Little Primer of Tu Fu
by David Hawkes
 Paperback: 255 Pages (1988-11)
list price: US$14.95
Isbn: 9627255025
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The standard introduction to the poetry of Tu Fu (712-770) regarded by many Chinese as their country's greatest poet. The thirty-five poems from the well-known Chinese anthology Three Hundred Tang Poems are each accompanied by a detailed and lively explication of form, historical background and meaning. At the same time, inclusion of Chinese characters, romanization, and both literal and prose translations offer the general reader or beginning language student the rare chance to savor the poet's art first hand. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Comments on A lITTLE pRIMER OF dU fU
Containsall DuFu's [pems from the Chinese anthology, 300 Tang Poems. Translations. Chinese text and pinyin romanization. First rate .

4-0 out of 5 stars A finehandbook for those who can read Chinese
This book is out of print and almost impossible to find used.A copy recently sold for $170 on ebay.But it is a testament to its high quality that people are willing to spend that much to own it.

Tu Fu (AD 712-770) and his contemporary Li Po are the two great masters of Tang Dynasty poetry.To greatly simplify, Li Po is the Taoist free spirit, while Tu Fu is the Confucian, concerned for the welfare of China, from the peasant on up to the emperor.While Li Po's touching and often whimsical accounts of wine and song under moonlight are perennial favorites with audiences around the world, Tu Fu is often considered harder to translate, and hence less accessible to those who do not read Chinese.However, poet and critic Kenneth Rexroth expressed the view that Tu Fu was THE greatest non-epic poet that the world has ever produced, in any language.

David Hawkes was for many years a professor of Chinese at Oxford.He has also published what is perhaps the definitive translation of the great Chinese novel _Story of the Stone_ (also known as _Dream of the Red Chamber_).In _A Little Primer of Tu Fu_, Hawkes has taken thirty-five of Tu Fu's most highly regarded poems, and provided for each

1. the original Chinese text
2. the pronunciation of the text (in Pinyin romanization with tones)
3. a note on the "Title and Subject" of the poem, including a discussion of the poem's context in Chinese history and Tu Fu's life
4. a discussion of the "Form" of the poem ("regulated verse," "old style" etc.), including meter and rhyme
5. a line-by-line "Exegesis" of the poem, which translates each line word-by-word and comments, typically after each couplet, on the word choice, imagery, etc.
6. a free translation of the poem (into prose form, interestingly)

There is also an "Author's Introduction" to the book, but it is more like a preface, describing the origin and format of the book.

The poems are beautiful and moving.Among the better known ones are "Spring Scene," which evokes the sadness of the Chinese capital when it has been occupied by invaders, and "Arrival of a Guest," which describes Tu Fu's humble life in the country.

I think anyone who really wants to understand Tu Fu's poetry would get a lot out of this book.However, the characters and the Pinyin romanizations may be a bit intimidating if you have not already had a year or two of Chinese language study.Ifyou do read Chinese, you will find this an invaluable aid to understanding Tu Fu (since Tang poetry -- like poetry in any language -- is often among the challenging texts to read).Finally, you should be aware that this is an interpretive commentary on some of Tu Fu's poems, rather than a general study of Tu Fu's life and work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bringing Clarity
This book serves as a good general introduction to Chinese poetry.It explains some of the conventions of historical verse forms, and the way they are used by this poet. For the poems of Tu Fu, it provides both a bare-bones, line-by-line translation of the displayed Chinese text, and a good English version of each poem. There is also interesting commentary on the poems, and details of the poet's life.

This is a memorable book. ... Read more

2. Selected Poems of Tu Fu
by Fu Du, Tu Fu, David Hinton
Paperback: 173 Pages (1989-05)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$7.49
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Asin: 0811211002
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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the great Chinese poet in excellent translations ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars A full life of poetry.
This book covers Tu Fu's complete poetry life (from 737 - 770), and Hinton's selections and commentary show Tu Fu's change and growth.He experiences a full life, including death falling in and out of favor with the local government, and invasion from Tibetans. The early poems of separation (Separation in a bird's cry startles the heart) and grief over a children when too poor for food (O, the poof grieve like a boundless wind in autumn trees.") have sadness. Normally a family man, he occasionally seeks the solitude of a recluse "A hermits wall is low, bit still home".Perhaps there is a tension in him, of desire to serve versus seclusion and family.He is one of the few poets, to turn away from government service, for a complete life of poetry.

Toward the end, fighting ill health,"Old and tired, my hair white, I dance and sing out./ Goosefoot cane, no sleep . . . . Catch me if you can!"

5-0 out of 5 stars stunning - I wish I read Chinese
Poetry in translation naturally loses some of its power and beauty - and in reading David Hinton's translations, there is a sense of "clunkiness" to some of the poems.Still, the raw emotion, passion and tragedy of Du Fu's life is apparent here.While I cannot comment on changes to style or content in classical Chinese poetry that Du Fu apparently introduced, the intensely personal nature of his work are far from the abstract symbolism typically associated with poetry.These are the poems of a man who knew how to live - the joys and sorrows and trials of life have an immeadiacy that belies their age.(Du Fu wrote between 737 - 770 CE)An example:"To stand alone - temples bleached with trouble and worry, Defeated .... and here I've just sworn off that blessed wine."What a guy!

What I found most helpful in reading and understanding Du Fu was the chronology for the poems (what was going on as the T'ang Dynasty began to implode and what and where Du Fu was during this time) as well as his notes about each poem, providing information about geographical landmarks and specific events relevant to each poem.A must for any lover of poetry or those interested in T'ang China.

5-0 out of 5 stars Poetry as Transcendence
This is a very fine exploration into the work of Tu Fu. The introduction, the translation, the biography and notes constitute a portrait of the man and the cultural world he inhabited. One always has to wonder how valid a translation of 8th century Chinese poetry into 21st century American can be, and clearly any translator is creating a new being based on sympathies and guesswork, and T'ang Dynasty history homework.

But there is a qualitative hierarchy of understanding that provides that the highest perceptions remain comprehensible through and despite changes of time. This comprehensible "something" is not easy to specify, and specification would kill it. Hence the need for poetry.But there is a certain emotional context to Tu Fu's poems about the hardships and momentary joys of his life that is missing from our cultural world, and that is always missing, for which there is always a remote nostalgia. A sense of the realness of life, the seriousness of it, the ultimate goodness of it, or maybe I should say that they, the poems, are explorations of the miracle of selfness in the world of sad events.

The printing in the book is painfully black and inky, but apart from that, it's great.

The translations were by David HInton, who, by my somewhat limited experience of reading translations of the great Chinese poets, is the best.There is an element of mindfulness to these poems and to other poets Hinton has translated - re-construed - that most of the translators miss. In fact, the mindfulness, the watching, no matter what the personal favorability of the circumstances is the whole point. Transcendent emotions grounded in daily life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Poetry of the Middle Kingdom at its best
David Hinton's translation of Tu Fu is a remarkable work. I read it a few years ago while in graduate school and the process of reading, then contemplating his words, became a rare treat for me.

Tu Fu wrote of a world most westerners find foreign, yet all humankind will appreciate. .. Above the clouds-on a mountain top sitting in the cabin of a friend lost long ago, Hinton's Tu gives you unique access to that other world which Tu described with such skill.It is a gift to be sure and one that will stay with you for a very long time.

5-0 out of 5 stars A dream of a translation
Be sure to read the essential introduction, which lays out the translator's hurdles in properly rendering these poems.Then read the poems -- and marvel over the work of not only Tu Fu, but David Hinton as well. ... Read more

3. Endless River: Li Po and Tu Fu : A Friendship in Poetry
 Paperback: 134 Pages (1993-11)
list price: US$7.95 -- used & new: US$61.95
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Asin: 0834802635
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Li Po (701-62) and Tu Fu (712-70) were two of the best known poets of China's greatest literary era. For over 20 years they carried on a conversation in poetry, and this book records 90 poems, 45 by each poet, in which they discuss many subjects, including their friendship. ... Read more

4. Tu Fu--a new translation
by Fu Du
 Paperback: 229 Pages (1981)

Isbn: 9620710126
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5. Tu Fu,: China's greatest poet
by William Hung
 Unknown Binding: 300 Pages (1952)

Asin: B0006ASZL0
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6. Tu Fu: Selected Poems
 Paperback: 216 Pages (2004-12-06)
list price: US$17.99 -- used & new: US$12.24
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Asin: 1410218430
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Editorial Review

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This volume is published in commemoration of the 1,250th birthday of Tu Fu, one of China’s greatest poets who lived in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.). Tu Fu was a contemporary and equal of Li Po, widely known in the West. In the minds of many Chinese people he is even greater. Both glorified their days, the golden age of classical Chinese poetry, with writings of unmatched brilliance.

It was a lime of great turmoil, a time when the Tang rule was declining and wars of aggression swept the country. Tu Fu, born of an intelligentsia family, sank to the lowest rung of the social ladder. He shared the lot of the common folk and therefore had a deep insight into the calamities and sufferings in which they were involved. He hated wars of aggression and longed for peace. He made his poetry a vehicle for the expression of his sympathy for the people, as well as a faithful account of his own tragedy. His poems have been cherished with ever-growing admiration. In 1962, Tu Fu was commemorated as one of the World’s Cultural Giants.

Feng Chih, the compiler of this book, is a professor of Peking University and the outstanding specialist on Tu Fu’s works. His other collection of Tu Fu’s works, containing 264 poems, is popular reading among Chinese lovers of poetry.

The translator Rewi Alley, himself a poet from New Zealand, has been in China for more than thirty years. He has travelled widely in northwestern and southwestern China and has personally seen the mountains, rivers, cities and countryside mentioned by Tu Fu. He is most qualified for the translation of Tu Fu’s poems.

The present volume contains 140 of Tu Fu’s poems written at various periods of his life, some of them already widely read. Additional features include the reproductions of the rubbing of a stone carving of Tu Fu’s portrait, facsimiles of Tu Fu’s works printed in the Sung and Yuan Dynasties, and paintings inspired by the poems. ... Read more

7. Reconsidering Tu Fu: Literary Greatness and Cultural Context (Cambridge Studies in Chinese History, Literature and Institutions)
by Eva Shan Chou
Paperback: 252 Pages (2006-11-02)
list price: US$50.00 -- used & new: US$42.71
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Asin: 0521028280
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Tu Fu is, by universal consent, the greatest poet of the Chinese tradition and the epitome of the Chinese moral conscience at its highest.In Reconsidering Tu Fu, Eva Shan Chou examines Tu Fu both as a cultural monument and as a poet. She investigates the evolution of his stature as an icon, and provides translations of many poems, both well known and obscure.Her analyses are both original in their formulation and considerate of the many fine readings of traditional commentators. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Reconsidering Tu Fu: Literary Greatness and Cultural Context
Not only this book is a book of history, but also a book of poetry. Tu Fu, through his poems, history of his contemporary time was also revealed. Professor Chou has also analyzed thoroughly on the structure of the poems. I highly recommand this book for anyone who is doing a research in historical Chinese poetries. ... Read more

8. Song of Peace: Eluard, Guillen, Horace, Lukenin, Mistral, Nezval, Tu Fu
by Walter Lowenfels
 Paperback: Pages (1959-01-01)

Asin: B00412A5PI
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9. Ruan Ji's Island and (Tu Fu) in the Cities
by Graham Hartill
 Paperback: 64 Pages (1992-04-21)
-- used & new: US$15.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0948454148
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10. Tu Fu, (Twayne's world authors series, TWAS 110: China)
by A. R Davis
 Hardcover: 175 Pages (1971)

Asin: B0006C0F6G
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11. Li Po and Tu Fu; (Penguin Classics)
by Arthur R. V Cooper
 Paperback: 249 Pages (1973)

Asin: B0006CC1D6
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12. I Didn't Notice the Mountain Growing Dark: Poems of Li Pai and Tu Fu
by Li Pai & Tu Fu
 Paperback: 53 Pages (1988)

Isbn: 0920953026
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13. Li Po and Tu Fu: Poems Selected and Translated with an Introduction and Notes (Penguin Classics)
by Arthur Cooper, Tu Fu
Paperback: 256 Pages (1973-07-30)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$7.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140442723
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Li Po (AD 701-62) and Tu Fu (AD 712-70) were devoted friends who are traditionally considered to be among China's greatest poets. Li Po, a legendary carouser, was an itinerant poet whose writing, often dream poems or spirit-journeys, soars to sublime heights in its descriptions of natural scenes and powerful emotions. His sheer escapism and joy is balanced by Tu Fu, who expresses the Confucian virtues of humanity and humility in more autobiographical works that are imbued with great compassion and earthy reality, and shot through with humour. Together these two poets of the T'ang dynasty complement each other so well that they often came to be spoken of as one - Li-Tu' - who covers the whole spectrum of human life, experience and feeling. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Outdated, time to retire this old horse, or produce a new edition...
This book is dated somewhere around 1971. It still uses Wade Giles, which is a major drawback for students trying to match up anything with the pinyin currently in use.

I've just received the book from Amazon, and I will give it the benefit of the doubt due to the explanation of Chinese poetic forms other reviewers have praised. But keep in mind that this book has the absolute bare minimum of Chinese characters, and virtually no usable reproductions of the the original poems in Chinese characters (hanzi), or romanization. In other words, it is a book dedicated almost exclusively to translations of the poems, not the poems themselves. While translation is a praiseworthy and thankless task, there are enough students around today trying to struggle with these poems using the Chinese, in addition to a translation, that it is worth it for some reproduction of the originals to be included. Beware, there is a bit less here than meets the eye.

Anyway, as Confucious might have said, had he been born in Rome, "Caveat emptor."

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Poetry!
Li Po and Tu Fu are traditionally regarded by the Chinese as their two greatest poets. Together their poetry has a "balance of nature". Sometimes they are referred to as one poet, "Li-Tu".

This book has a wonderful introduction which tells of each man, his life and together of their friendship.What we know is that they lived during the Tang Dynasty which is considered the 'golden age' of China in which the arts flourished.According to the introduction we do not have an exact date and place of Li Po's birth but it is estimated to be 701 somewhere near the frontier of the Soviet Union.What I love best about Li Po's poetry is his great imagination and imagery.I believe he was a "Romantic" poet. Li Po's view of the world is not set in reality but how he imagines it to be which makes his poetry beautiful.Some of my favorite poems by Li Po:"Drinking Alone with the Moon" about drinking his wine among the flowers and talking to the moon.The moon encourages him and becomes his friend - very lovely poem. Also "Old Poem" is very fanciful and rich - "Did Chaung Chou dream / he was the butterfly, / Or the butterfly / that it was Chaung Chou?"One that I read again and again is entitled "A song of Adieu to the Queen of the Skies, After a Dream Voyage to Her".This is a mystical poem talking of seafarers who tell of the Fairy Isles.The language is simply gorgeous.

Tu Fu's nature is different than Li Po's but he is equally as talented.According to the introducton, "Tu Fu as a man is contrasted with Li Po in almost every conceivable way."Many consider him to be the greater of the two poets.His poems are autobiographical and historical. Several of his poems are ballads to great people and others deal with loneliness and seclusion but they are beautiful and moving to read.

Although the two poets were very different, they knew and respected one another and it is just a matter of personal taste as to which one you might prefer.Either way this is a beautiful book with a rather long but interesting introduction and it is well worth it for the English translations of these poems.

Here's a poem by Li Po saying farewell to a friend:

Blue mountains lie beyond the north wall;
Round the city's eastern side flows the white water.
Here we part, friend, once forever.
You go ten thousand miles, drifting away
Like an unrooted water-grass.
Oh, the floating clouds and the thoughts of a wanderer!
Oh, the sunset and the longing of an old friend!
We ride away from each other, waving our hands,
While our horses neigh softly, softly . . . . "

5-0 out of 5 stars China's greatest poets
Li Po (AD 701 - 762) and Tu Fu (AD 712 - 770) are regarded as the two greatest Chinese poets. Li Po was a spiritual poet whose verse deals with consciousness and the human mind, whilst Tu Fu was a chronicler of the everyday life. The book includes a thorough introduction encompassing the pronunciation of Chinese words and names, notes on the Chinese calligraphy and the introduction proper which provides information on the poets and their times, plus backgrounds to T'ang Poetry and the principles of Chinese syllabic metre. The poems are elucidated with explanatory notes and with reference to Ezra Pound's translations in his book Cathay. In this regard, I found here another translation of Li Po's poem The Ballad Of Ch'ang-Kan (The Sailor's Wife) the first part of which was translated as The River Merchant's Wife: A Letter, by Pound. This is a beautiful poem and I was very pleased to find the second part here. Although there is no unanimity amongst scholars that it really is by Li Po, it perfectly completes the first part and Cooper's notes here are very illuminating, especially as regards place names on the Yangtse river. This excellent book concludes with a list of titles and an index of first lines, including poems by other poets in the introduction.

5-0 out of 5 stars More, please
I am not giving the stars to the translation or the edition. This is the only book on Li Po I could find available a few months ago. I guess I was lucky enough to run into an old edition of Li Po's poetry at my University library years ago, and had been looking for a copy since then. Got this. Want more.

5-0 out of 5 stars A unique and valuable introduction for beginners.
LI PO AND TU FU : Poems Selected and Translated with an Introduction and Notes by Arthur Cooper.Chinese Calligraphy by Shui Chien-tung. (Penguin Classics).249 pp.Penguin 1973, and Reissued.

This is a valuable book in many ways.Besides giving a selection of enjoyable translations of China's two greatest poets - Li Po (+ 701-762, 25 poems) and Tu Fu (+ 712-770, 18 poems), it alsoincludes a remarkably full and informative Introduction of almost100 pages which not only serves to introduce beginners to the subject of Chinese poetry, and to the work of Li Po and Tu Fu in particular, but which could also be read with profit by others.

Each of the 43 poems is followed by an explanatory comment, which canrange in length from paragraph to essay form.The book also includes a Guide to the Pronunciation of Chinese Words and Names, and, since twelve of the poems are accompanied by the Chinese text in the strikingcalligraphy of Shui Chien-tung, a Note on Chinese Calligraphy has beenprovided by the artist for the benefit of those who may not be familiarwith the nature and history of this fascinating art form.

Shui Chien-tung has "adopted a manner influenced by Chinese bronze inscriptions [and] has also followed various styles of writing to suit the different poems" (pp.13-14).The result is a clear style whichin most cases will cause no problems for anyone who may be studyingChinese characters, since the structure of even the more complex characters can easily be discerned.

Here, as an example of Cooper's style (with my obliques added toindicate line breaks), is the first of two 'sonnets' of Tu Fu's 'Atan Evening Picnic, with Young Bucks and Beauties' :

"Sunset's the time to take the boat out / When a light breeze raises slow ripples, / Bamboo-hidden is the picnic place / And lotus-fresh in the evening cool; // But while the bucks are mixing iced drinks / And beauties snow a lotus salad, / A slip of cloud comes black overhead : / Before it rains my sonnet must end !" (p.163)

Cooper's reading nicely evokes the lighthearted amusements of spoiledand wealthy youth, out on the cool water with a party of singing girls for an evening of companionship and pleasure after the heat of the day.

Cooper's anthology has an excellent Introduction, is of manageablesize, well-translated, helpfully annotated, uniquely illustrated with Shui Chien-tung's calligraphy, and has other useful features.Itwould make a good introduction for anyone new to Chinese poetry, andit can also be read with interest by anyone wishing to extend their knowledge of Li Po and Tu Fu.

Those who, after reading it, would like to explore further and learn about some of China's other great writers, might take a look at the excellent anthology by Cyril Birch, another book I can strongly recommend:

ANTHOLOGY OF CHINESE LITERATURE : From early times to the fourteenth century.Compiled and edited by Cyril Birch.Associate editor Donald Keene.492 pp.New York : Grove Press, 1965, and Reissued. ... Read more

14. Facing the Snow: Visions of Tu Fu (Pinecone)
by Fu Tu, Yim Yse
 Paperback: 113 Pages (1988-10)
list price: US$10.00 -- used & new: US$30.00
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Asin: 0934834245
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classic Chinese poetry, tr Sam Hamill ... Read more

15. Five T'ang Poets
by Wang Wei, Li Po, Tu Fu, Li Ho, Li Shang-yin
Paperback: 182 Pages (1990-03)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$7.55
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Asin: 093244055X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Five great poets of the T'ang dynasty (eighth and ninth centuries A.D.) are represented in this collection: Wang Wei, Li Po, Tu Fu, Li Ho, and Li Shang-Yin. Each poet is introduced by the translator and represented by a selection that spans the poet's development and career. These constitute some of the greatest lyric poems ever written. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Weeping, wandering, carousing poets
I rarely read poetry, but there's something terribly appealing about an ancient culture where bureaucrats routinely wrote poems. And so I occasionally buy books like this one. The five poets sampled here wrote in the eighth and ninth century, the richest period of Chinese poetry.

I liked everything about the book, from the engaging preface to the last poignant verse. Translator David Young starts out by sharing his creative process with us. He's a poet himself, on a mission to save his T'ang poets from the wooden translations of dry scholars. And amazingly, he's contrived to render the poems without footnotes!

Young carefully selects the poems he wants us to enjoy, writing a mini-introduction to the works of each poet. Here he succinctly sums up the poetic personality of the writer, his preoccupations and events that influenced his style.

I was delighted with Wang Wei, the devout painter-poet wandering in a vast wild landscape, finally kneeling by a lake...

to chase away
the poison dragon of emotion

Li Po I found witty and winsome, inviting the moon to be his drinking companion.

Tu Fu charmed me with his candor:

I wanted my picture to hang
in the hall of fame, the Unicorn Gallery
now in old age
I waddle with the ducks and snowy herons

And I was intrigued by the lives and methods of Li Ho, young poet of extremes, and Li Shang-Yin, clever wielder of allusion.

With this captivating collection, David Young has inspired me to read more T'ang poetry.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Poems and great Poet Translating
The Five Tang Poets coveredin this book are wonderful.

Wang Wei excellent landscape poems take you to places which are wonderous while not over iydllic.Tu Fu is sad and poinant, talking about the scenes of war. Li Po talks of drinking and intoxication in a way that seems that it is a way of life

Young translates in a free verse form using simple words and goes for the feeling of the poem. The poems are not 100 % literal translations but they are jems.I feel like I am having some of my chinese friends translating a poem for me and they say this is the best I can do you will have to read Chinese to fully understand the poem completely.Young takes us as far as one can go in our language. He took on a difficult task to bring these poems so simple in language and so complex in context and emotion to life, Young has done an excellent job with the tool of the English language

5-0 out of 5 stars MY BROTHER!!!
My best friend in this world (outside of my wonderful family) is a guy that I only get to see every few years. He's like the wind. He blows in and out of my life. But he's always in my heart. We are poets.

Being a poet is not a choice. It is a life sentence.

My friend and I are dissimilar in so many ways that it is remarkable that we don't break out in a fight the instant we come into each other's presence. Yet...and yet...

Hearts touched by the flame always find warmth in good company.

Imagine my joy then, at finding a new brother (one from over a thousand years ago) when I picked up this book and met Li Po.

I won't bother you much longer with my words. Instead, let me introduce you to Li Po himself:

Drinking in Moonlight

I sit with my wine jar
among flowers
blossoming trees

no one to drink with

well, there's the moon

I raise my cup
and ask him to join me
bringing my shadow
making us three

but the moon doesn't seem to be drinking
and my shadow creeps around behind me

still, we're companions tonight
me, the moon, and the shadow
we're observing the rites of spring

I sing
and the moon rocks back and forth

I dance
and my shadow tumbles with me

We celebrate for awhile
then go our own ways, drunk

may we meet again someday
in the white river of stars

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding and eminently readable translations
"Verses, however masterly, cannot be translated literally from one language into another without losing much of their beauty and dignity." (Bede, English writer and historian, AD 673-735)

For the translator of poetry, and Chinese poetry in particular, the question is: shall I be true to the letter or to the spirit? Usually the answer lies somewhere in the middle. The best translations aim to be true to the spirit without violating the letter more than necessary.

David Young, a poet himself, hopes to be true to the spirit of the five poets from the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-906) while at the same time trying to create poetry in a different language and period. The impulse that lies behind his book is to rescue the poets "from the often wooden and dogged versions of the scholars" and to recreate the beauty and dignity of the poetry in a language used by an American poet at the end of the 20th century. The results are marvelously readable, beautiful translations that I enjoyed more than any other translations of Chinese poetry I have read before or since.

Preceding the translations, Young has written a short introduction to each of the poets. These include a discussion of the special qualities of the poets' works and a selection of recommended translations by other English authors.

The five poets represented in this book are (1) Wang Wei, a devout Buddhist and the Chinese poet of landscape par excellence who wrote poems of a deeply religious sensibility; (2) Li Po, the Chinese archetype of the "bohemian artist and puckish wanderer," a poet beloved for his Taoist unconventionality; (3) Tu Fu, China's greatest poet according to a widely held view because of his technical brilliance and "vigorous poetry that manages to transcend unhappiness and melancholy by its enormous range and immense humanity"; (4) Li Ho, a poet usually not ranked with the Big Three because he is too innovative and defies classification; and (5) Li Shang-yin, who has a reputation as a decadent versifier but, as Young shows, is a "human and humane artist who feels deeply and sees deeply into mysteries of our common existence."

One of my favorite poems in this collection is "Returning to my cottage." It is a good example of Wang Wei's ability to capture stillness and movement in a landscape, to balance observations of things distant and close by, and to create from these images an atmosphere of serenity tinged with sadness. It is a good example for David Young's style of translation, too:

A bell in the distance
the sound floats
down the valley

one by one
woodcutters and fishermen
stop work, start home

the mountains move off
into darkness

alone, I turn home
as great clouds beckon
from the horizon

the wind stirs delicate vines
and water chestnut shoots
catkin fluff sails past

in the marsh to the east
new growth
vibrates with color

it's sad
to walk in the house
and shut the door.

Bottom line: This is one of the few anthologies of classical Chinese poetry in which the English versions of the poems really sound like poetry. There is nothing of the stiff formality and awkwardness of most other translations that disable the lyric voice of the verses. These translations are full of the beauty and dignity of the Chinese originals.

5-0 out of 5 stars Clear As Water, A Remarkable Book of Poems
I first read David Young's amazing translations of these great T'ang poets seventeen years ago, when I was one of his students at Oberlin College in Ohio, and they started me on a lifetime of reading and loving these astonishingly ancient and contemporary sounding poets.There is something vibrantly alive, immediate, and inspiring about these 8th century words and the personalities of their wise, striking authors.In reading many translations, you won't find many as clear and right. ... Read more

16. Thirty-Six Poems By Tu Fu translated by Kenneth Rexroth, with twenty-five Etchings by Brice Marden
by Tu Fu. Translated By Kenneth Rexroth. Preface by Peter Blum. Introduction to the Poetry by Bradford Morrow. Introduction to the Etchings by John Yau.
Hardcover: Pages (1987-01-01)

Asin: B000PICOWE
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17. Tu Fu: Wanderer and Minstrel Under Moons of Cathay
by Tu Fu; Trans. By Edna Worthley Underwood and Chi Hwang Chu
 Hardcover: Pages (1929)

Asin: B000JL7D14
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18. Tu Fu Comes to America: A Story in Poems
by Larry Smith
Paperback: 60 Pages (2010-10-01)
list price: US$9.00 -- used & new: US$7.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 159661143X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In the winter of 770 CE, Tu Fu left this world. In Larry Smith's fine narrative, he reappears in present day Cleveland. We see America through his eyes, through his contemplative heart. Hope, loss, friendship, love, the old quarrel with the world. Travel with him. Open your chest. Learn. --MAJ RAGAIN, author of Twist the Axe ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars A book of poems that tells a story of America through the eyes of a Chinese immigrant poet.
As the author of this book, I invite you to read into the world of a Chinese poet come to America...his and his family's struggles become our own. I'm happy with this book by March Street Press and want to share it. ... Read more

19. Tu Fu, China's Greatest Poet
by william hung
 Hardcover: 300 Pages (1952)

Asin: B0000CI9HT
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, sadly out of print
I finally found a copy of this rare book that I could afford!

William Hung has translated over 300 of Tu Fu's poems in prose style along with fascinating biographical information. Published by Harvard University Press, it is sad that this book (1951) has been out of print for so long.

A word in defense of Hung's prose translations: They flow naturally, as opposed to the kind of translation that attempts to square off the lines to make it into "poetry." Further, Tu Fu's intent and naturalness of worldview comes through clearly in Hung's version.

There have been several more recent books translating poems of Tu Fu (sometimes spelled Du Fu), and some are quite good in their own way. One is well advised to read many different translations of Tu Fu to get a better overall impression of his work. ... Read more

by Tu Fu. Transl. Wu Junato
 Hardcover: Pages (1981)

Asin: B000TWR3A4
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