April 03, 2006

Books: The Poetry of Wang Wei

As part of my celebration of National Poetry Month, I'll highlight some recent poetry finds. Today is:

translated by David Hinton

David Hinton, whose much-acclaimed translations of Li Po and Tu Fu have become classics, now completes the triumvirate of China's greatest poets with The Selected Poems of Wang Wei.

Wang Wei (701-761 C.E.) is often spoken of, with his contemporaries Li Po and Tu Fu, as one of the three greatest poets in China's 3,000-year poetic tradition. Of the three, Wang was the consummate master of the short imagistic landscape poem that came to typify classical Chinese poetry. He developed a nature poetry of resounding tranquillity wherein deep understanding goes far beyond the words on the page -a poetics that can be traced to his assiduous practice of Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism.

Farewell to Yang, Who's Leaving for Kuo-chou by Wang Wei

Those canyons are too narrow to travel.
How will you make your way there, when

it's a mere bird-path—a thousand miles
and gibbons howling all day and night?

We offer travel-spirits wine, then you're
gone: Nü-lang Shrine, mountain forests

and beyond. But we still share a radiant
moon. And do you hear a nightjar there?

Recommendations: Wang Wei & Chinese Poetry

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Translation by Vikram Seth (a fine as well).

by Eliot Weinberger & Octavio Paz

, Tony Barnstone & Chou Ping, Eds.

Posted by ronn at April 3, 2006 01:15 PM