One Hundred Poems from the Chinese

One Hundred Poems from the Chinese 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 his poems come through to us with an immediacy that is breathtak

  • Title: One Hundred Poems from the Chinese
  • Author: Kenneth Rexroth
  • ISBN: 9780811201803
  • Page: 478
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 tThe 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.

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    1. Spring sunOn the Day of Cold FoodI go out to smell the perfume of the flowers, Along the bank of the river.Happy and at ease,I let the soft East wind bathe my face.Everwhere the Spring is blazingWith ten thousand shades of blueand ten thousand colors of red. By: Chu HsiAnd one afterthought moreFor ten miles the mountains riseabove the lake. The beautyof water and mountain is impossible to describe.In the glow of eveninga traveler sits in frontOf an inn, sipping wine.The moon shines above alittle [...]

    2. Although I like this book a great deal, I like it somewhat less than Rexroth’s earlier anthology One Hundred Poems from the Japanese, but this may reflect my greater sympathy with the classical Japanese tradition than the classical Chinese tradition. (I concede I speak presumptuously, out of great ignorance; I know these works only in translation.) Japanese poems are often short (haiku of course, but other forms as well) and yield much of their meaning either immediately or after brief contemp [...]

    3. Kenneth Rexroth (1905-1982), American poet, literary critic and essayist, was also an interesting translator of classical Chinese and Japanese poetry. Not unexpectedly, his interest in such poetry influenced his own poems, and, necessarily, his own poetics strongly influenced his translations. An interesting side note in this connection is that he "translated" a book of poems,The Love Poems of Marichiko , by "a young Japanese woman", which convincingly reflected the feelings of a then contempora [...]

    4. Spring NightThe few minutes of a Spring nightAre worth ten thousand pieces of gold.The perfume of the flowers is so pure.The shadows of the moon are so black.In the pavilion the voices and flutes are so high and light.In the garden a hammock rocksIn the night so deep, so profound.~ SU TUNG P'OThe Turning YearNightfall. Clouds scatter and vanish.The sky is pure and cold.Silently the River of Heaven turns in the Jade Vault.If tonight I do not enjoy life to the full,Next month, next year, who knows [...]

    5. I took an Asian Poetry course during my undergrad years (in my university's East Asian Studies department). As our initiation into Chinese verse, our class was asked to read a Penguin Classics translation of Li Po and Tu Fu. From this assignment, I took away the impression that classic Chinese poetry does not suit my taste well: I found it orderly to a fault, weighed down with end-stopped ideas, rather static nature imagery, Confucian doctrinairism, irritating sentimentality about the hearth of [...]

    6. Rexroth has here rendered, not C, but CXIV poems from the Chinese, into an English at home with Pound in his block of Chinese cantos--flanked, those, by the fifth decad and dambed Adams ones, and thereby excepting in relation to the present volume, of course, any political or economical affinities; which is to say, this too of course, that Rexroth's isn't the stuff of Kung transposed to verse. The points being: (i) isolation, and (ii) elegant compression, but which latter this reader must quali [...]

    7. I bought a used copy of this book after reading An American Gospel by Erik Reece. I was familiar, somewhat, with Rexroth from a recording of "Thou Shalt Not Kill" stumbled across during my introduction to Beat writers. The idea of reading ancient-ish Chinese poetry in translation didn't appeal to me, but this book has been an unqualified delight. Read slowly over months, the clearness, stillness, and directness of these poems is moving. So many of them traverse the same ground, the seasons, rhyt [...]

    8. Beautiful <3A major, major chunk of credit goes to Tu Fu, for these timeless gems We still love each other asWe did when we were schoolboys.Tomorrow morning mountain peaksWill come between us, and with themThe endless, obliviousBusiness of the world.XXMidnight, we cross an old battlefield.The moonlight shines cold on white bones.XXIn the winter dawn I will faceMy fortieth year. Borne headlongTowards the long shadows of sunsetBy the headstrong, stubborn moments,Life whirls past like drunken wi [...]

    9. Better than the Japanese collection of the same name. A bit more complex but not by very much. There was one poem called "The Locust Swarm" that stood out above the rest by a very large margin. It was the only poem from that author they had in this collection, as opposed to other authors who they have a lot of poems by. I've given it 4 stars for that poem, otherwise it'd have been 3 stars. I find that in these collections you have to sift through tons of duds to find maybe 5 to 10 great ones. St [...]

    10. I don't think one ever really finishes reading a good book of poetry and this one is very good indeed. A serendipitous used bookstore find, I know that I will pick up this book many times over the years, open a page at random and be transported.

    11. I've been checking English translations of Japanese and Chinese poems. (I don't speak Chinese; however, because Chinese characters have meanings, I can "read" them to some extent.) This is one of the books I found at the library. Let's take a well-known poem by Du Fu (Tu Fu). The original is:江碧鳥愈白 山青花欲然 今春看又過 何日是帰年The translation in this book: *Another Spring*White birds over the grey river.Scarlet flowers on the green hills.I watch the Spring go by and [...]

    12. CXIVAloneI raise the curtains and go outTo watch the moon. Leaning on theBalcony, I breathe the eveningWind from the west, heavy with theOdors of decaying Autumn.The rose jade of the riverBlends with the green jade of the void.Hidden in the grass a cricket chirps.Hidden in the sky storks cry out.I turn over and over inMy heart the memories ofOther days. Tonight as alwaysThere is no one to share my thoughts.—Chu Shu Chen

    13. I know this is classic poetry and considered in some circles more exalting than Whitman, but by the end it seemed monotonous. The river, the mountains, the seasons, oh my.

    14. Not sure how anyone could not like this 5 stars worth. Not only very decent poetry, but a mini history lesson as well!

    15. My unfamiliarity with oriental poetry leaves me ill equipped to appreciate this book fully. Certain lines jumped out and like other oriental poetry I’ve read, this poetry is simple and concrete: “I have run off, like a horse whose rider has lost the bit.”

    16. Rexroth held court at the University of California in Santa Barbara for some time, so his influence spread not only among an entire generation of poets (and photographers and sculptors and potters and songwriters and so on), but also among many of my closest friends in the religious studies department. Because most of us had little or no background in Mandarin at that time, these translations were important to us for giving artistic expression to the blend of Confucian, Daoist, and Buddhist sens [...]

    17. For me reviewing poetry is a difficult thing. I’ve had this book for years and finally pulled it down off the shelf. I didn’t even realize that all the poems here are so very old. Thirty-one of the hundred are from the poet Tu Fu who lived in the T’ang dynasty back in the 700s. And yet, he could have been writing today in so many of them. In all of the poems, Tu Fu’s and others, the seasons, love and loss pay a huge roll. There as several from the Sung dynasty (the remaining poems from t [...]

    18. This collection of Chinese poetry really appealed to my senses. The imagery was beautiful and I could almost hear the chirping birds and flowing water and smell the blossoming flowers. My favorite grouping was the poems of Tu Fu. These poems were written back in the 700's and still feel fresh today. Most of the other poems in the book were written between 1000-1150 and are well worth the read. Some of the poems had a darkness to them. They oozed melancholy and made it beautiful. I am really glad [...]

    19. I will just give it stars for the poets and poems I enjoyed. I didn't like much of Tu Fu (except Jade Flower Palace and To Wei Pa, a Retired Scholar). I liked Mei Yao Ch'en, Ou Yang Hsiu, Su Tung P'o (mostly his moments of melancholy or humor). I liked Lu Yu's I Get Up at Dawn. Hsu Chao's The Locust Swarm was delightfully creepy, google for it immediately. I'm somewhat frustrated that I can't find more poems by that author or information about him or her. Yet. I enjoyed Chu Shu Chen too.

    20. Still in the Tu Fu poems, which are beautiful and manage to catch the incised quality of Tang poetry without stiltifying it. But, I only wish Rexroth and New Directions had included facing originals and used Pinyin instead of the defunct and misleading old Wade Giles system of transliteration. Particularly in regard to lexicography, a universal system, like Pinyin, is indispensible to Western acolytes of the Chinese language.

    21. xiv loneliness a hawk hovers in airo white gulls float on the streamaring with the wind, it is easyto drop and seizebirds who foolishly drift with the current.where the dew sparkles in the grass,the spider's web waits for its preye processes of nature resemble the business of men.i stand alone with ten thousand sorrows.~tu fu

    22. This is full of lovely imagery, ideal for for cold rainy days. I don't understand a lot of the poems that Rexroth claims to be sublime, but maybe when I'm older I'll understand. I find some of the lines with explicit philosophical recommendations or theses to be overbearing, but they are balanced by the powerful descriptive lines that are offered neutrally and win you over immediately.

    23. Organization was somewhat clunky--notes at the end were quite illuminating. Would've been more useful to see them on same page as poem.

    24. My first fully translated collection. Nice straight forward poems. Repetitive topics, but touching nonetheless.

    25. I wouldn't say more than what the others have said Tremendous feeling when reading those poemsKenneth Rexroth did great job on those translations.

    26. This is a must-read book. The Chinese poems are warm, human, and indelible. Rexroth's translations are limpid and economical.

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