Classical Chinese Poetry An Anthology is 475 pages stuffed cover to cover with poems from 1500 B.C.E. to 1200 C. E. If you enjoy reading Chinese poetry, then this book will be like feasting on a gigantic slice of triple layer chocolate cake topped with loads of whip cream. The book includes an introduction, 100’s of poems (around 500) and end notes. The introduction includes a brief explanation of Chinese poetry as well as some historical background. The meat and potatoes sections are the 1-3 pages before each poet’s poems. The translator provides a history of the poet and very helpful analysis of their work.
Some of the poets include: T’ao Chien, Hsien Ling- Yun, Meng Hao-Jan, Wang Wei, Li Po, Tu Fu, Cold Mountain, Wei Ying- Wu, Meng Chiao, Han Yu, Pu Chu-I,Li Ho, Tu Mu, Li Shang- Yin, Yu Hsuan- Chi, Mei Yao- Ch’en, Wang An- Shih, Su Tung- P’o, Li Ch’ing- Chao, and Yang Wnn- Li.
Below are three example poems from the book:
Music -Bureau Folk Songs
(c. 2nd to 1st centuries B.C.E.)
When the sun’s up we work,
and when it’s down we rest.
We dig wells and there’s drink,
plow fields and there’s food.
An emperor? What’s his awesome power to us?
(768 to 824)
Don’t say you can’t really make a pond in a bowl.
Those lotus roots I planted growing already!
From now on, when it rains, you can hurry over:
we’ll listen to windblown platter on the leaves.
(803 to 853)
I see a cloud at day’s end and just can’t look away.
It has no mind at all, no mind and surely no talent:
a sad flake of bright jade radiant with color, drifting
ten thousand miles of clear sky, nowhere it began.
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