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The Selected Poems of Wang Wei
Translated by David Hinton
Imprint: Anvil Press Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (144 pages)
(Pub. Jun 2009)
To reach Yellow-Bloom River, they say,
these mountains, its hundred-mile way
first rock-strewn, kicking up a racket,
rapids tumbling water-chestnuts here,
My mind’s perennial form is idleness,
so I’ll just linger here on this flat stone,
Wang Wei (701–761 AD) 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 history. He was the consummate master of the short imagistic landscape poem that came to typify classical Chinese poetry, with poems of resounding tranquillity whose style and substance can be traced to his practice of Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism. But in spite of this philosophical depth, Wang is not a difficult poet. He may in fact be the most immediately appealing of China’s great poets, and in Hinton’s masterful translations he sounds utterly contemporary.
Awards won by Wang Wei Winner, 2007 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation (The Selected Poems of Wang Wei)
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