The Soul of Chinese Poetry


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Li Bai liked alcohol and swords martial arts. So traditionally, rather than his splendid poem, the most classic impression of Li Bai left to his fans and poem lovers was that his free and drunk visit to mountains, waters and unexplored regions of ancient China with a sword.

Now, let us share the detailed information of Li Bai at his period when Tang Dynasty was its peak time. Maybe, you find the experiences of Li Bai was actually a legendary story, because many stories happened in his life were quite well known in Chinese culture. One day, he left school without the agreement of teacher as usual, on his way, he unexpectedly found an old woman rubbing a thick iron stick nearby the river, and the old woman worked hard to rub the iron stick, though she was quite tired and full of sweat on the face.

Li Bai was extraordinarily curious and asked the old woman why she rubbed the iron stick. Since then, Li Bai never broke the rule to leave the class and he learned quite diligently. In primary school, teachers always narrate this story to his or her students to encourage them work hard.

In fact, at the early time, Li Bai was ambitious and wanted to have a career in social contribution. Li Bai was quite talented but he was reluctant to attend the imperial examination. He wanted to recommend himself via this letter; however, he was not responded at all. From then on, Li Bai stepped into the official circle. This was commonly considered to be a good thing, but due to his unique characters and habit, this was also the beginning of his official life.

Li Bai: An Earthly Immortal of Poem and Free Soul of Ancient China

For poetry, language — the nuance of language — is paramount. Form is part of content in poetry translation. The allegory goes like this: A man is waiting for his date under a bridge. Before the woman arrives, however, the river water unexpectedly rises. The moral of this allegory is that one can place love above his own life.

In any case, he did not explain it.

Translation like that, certainly a big departure from the original style, is uninspiring. This is easier said than done. Rhymes, which commonly exist in traditional poetry, are also difficult to reproduce. Allusions provide yet another difficulty. A bigger issue is that a translator whose mother tongue is not the source language risks missing or misunderstanding the meaning of the allusion, as happened to Pound.

Fortunately perhaps, contemporary poetry has largely liberated the translator from these concerns. Nowadays, free verse is more commonly seen than rhymed poems, and allusion is less favored than direct speaking. But the basic challenge, namely of managing the intertextuality, remains the same.


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Before Han, poems about the pagoda were all awed, but Han takes a completely different, antitraditional view:. In addition to antitraditional, this poem is also anti-heroism and anti-grandness, this in sharp contrast to the earlier generations of the PRC poets. So how can such intertextuality be translated? For comparison purposes, let us look at two different translations of this poem: one by a non-native Chinese speaker, Maghiel van Crevel, who is a professor at Leiden University, Netherlands, specialized in contemporary Chinese poetry, and another one that is jointly translated by Donald Revell, a native English speaker, and Zhang Er, a native Chinese speaker, both established poets.

Maghiel van Crevel; Pathlight , No. About Da Yan Pagoda What more to know? The people come far To climb it, to be Heroes for once, or even a second time Some of them, or perhaps more.

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The unhappy ones, and also ones Ample in the flesh of their leisure. These, whole gangs of them, climb together, Becoming heroes for once, And then climb down, Disappearing instantly almost Into the streets and crowds below.

Chinese poetry - Wikipedia

There are also those, a very few, The seed people who, leaping from the stairs, Burst into scarlet flowers. Its simplicity and rawness immediately struck me and I found this book as a result of a search. I cannot comment on whether David Hinton has let too much of himself into the translation as another reviewer has claimed.

I can only say that this is the only form of poetry that I have really enjoyed. It definitely speaks to my soul. Format: Paperback Verified Purchase.

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This is one of the best books I've read, some of the poems are amazingly spiritual and capture the awesomeness of life and nature. I'm finding new poets to buy their books as well from this anthology. Great service and wonderful book! Format: Paperback. I love this old Chinese poetry for its simplicity and naturalness, but also for its un-pin-downable mystery; and English translations of it don't come more simple, natural and mysterious than David Hinton's: Pure enjoyment.

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Translation of classical Chinese poetry into English

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The Soul of Chinese Poetry The Soul of Chinese Poetry
The Soul of Chinese Poetry The Soul of Chinese Poetry
The Soul of Chinese Poetry The Soul of Chinese Poetry
The Soul of Chinese Poetry The Soul of Chinese Poetry
The Soul of Chinese Poetry The Soul of Chinese Poetry
The Soul of Chinese Poetry The Soul of Chinese Poetry
The Soul of Chinese Poetry The Soul of Chinese Poetry

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