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The Selected Poems of Li Po

Li Po

Translated by David Hinton

No Text
Series: Poetica
Imprint: Anvil Press Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (160 pages)
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    On a Spring Day

    It’s like boundless dream here in this
    world, nothing anywhere to trouble us.

    I have, therefore, been drunk all day,
    a shambles of sleep on the front porch.

    Coming to, I look into the courtyard.
    There’s a bird among blossoms calling,

    and when I ask what season this is,
    an oriole’s voice drifts on spring winds.

    Overcome, verging on sorrow and lament,
    I pour another drink. Soon, awaiting

    this bright moon, I’m chanting a song.
    And now it’s over, I’ve forgotten why.

    Translated by David Hinton

    Li Po (AD 701–762) and Tu Fu are traditionally celebrated as the two greatest poets in the Chinese canon. David Hinton’s translation of Li Po’s poetry is no less an achievement than his critically acclaimed The Selected Poems of Tu Fu, also published by Anvil. Li Po’s work is suffused with Taoism and Zen Buddhism, and the pure lyricism of his poems has awed readers in China and Japan for over a thousand years. Called ‘the Banished Immortal’, Li Po was seen as an exiled spirit moving through this world with an unearthly ease and freedom from attachment.

    David Hinton’s versions reflect the ambiguity and density of Li Po’s originals. They are compelling English poems that alter our conception of Chinese poetry.

    Li Po
    Li Po (701–762) wrote over 1,000 poems. He left home at 19 to live with a Taoist hermit. After some wanderings, a marriage and a brief spell as a T’ang court poet, he returned to a life of Taoist study and poetry. He was later imprisoned when a prince, in whose ... read more
    David Hinton
    David Hinton studied Chinese at Cornell University. His many translations of ancient Chinese poetry have earned wide acclaim for creating compelling English poetry that conveys the texture and density of the originals. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as numerous fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts ... read more
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