Wine Poems of China Wiki: Chinese Poetry The
Tang Dynasty of China(618 -
was the golden age for
Chinese poetry, a place and time when to be a
man, with all the macho superlatives included, necessitated being a
poet. (There are a few female poets from this era and, like Sappho
from ancient Greece, they are important and unique voices of this
period.) In the Tang era, the “civil service” exam given to
a position in the royal court included poetry writing. Poetry
competitions at parties were common - I like to imagine something akin
a modern rap face-off, done in 8th century kimonos.
poetry, including the wine poems presented here, were heavy with a
love and respect for nature. The poems are inundated with
sounding place names and many editors include maps of China to aid in
understanding these verses. However, I have avoided this
believing that our imaginations provide a better road map to enjoying
these poems than any cartographer could supply. We simply
call up from our own memories pastoral scenes of mountain lakes,
idyllic rivers, and country meadows . . . as well as the full
moons, sunrises, and the distant “gongs”(train whistles and church
come to my mind) that have blessed our dawns and twilights.
translation of the Tang era poets form an important footnote in the
development of modern English poetry. The “vintage” (ie.
domain) poet/translators presented here (Amy Lowell, Ezra Pound,
Arthur Waley, and Shigoyoshi Obata) were all contemporaries, familiar
and critical of one another's work. Following the lead of
Pound's little book of translations entitled Cathay,
they each found in the conversion of Chinese pictographs
modern English the
employ a simplicity of verbiage and a “free verse” that mark the
beginning of modern poetry. Ezra Pound and Amy Lowell,
often at-odds with one another, wrote important essays that helped
define modern prosody.
names into English has produced many examples of multiple names for the
same person, place, or thing. This has been complicated by
translations that adopted Japanese translation of Chinese
names. A confusing situation, indeed. The
sources for the Chinese poems appearing at vintagewinepoems.com.
reflect this confusion.
attempt at a
standardized system has come to be known as Wade-Giles, first produced
by Thomas Wade in the mid-19th century. It was given its
completed form with Herbert Gile’s publication of a Chinese-English
dictionary in 1892.
In the 1950’s,
system for the translation of Chinese into
was developed. It was published by the Chinese government in
1958. The International Organization for Standardization
pinyin as the international standard in 1982.
possible, the pinyin system has been employed atvintagewinepoems.com
revisions may indeed be necessary in the future as my errors are
revealed by research or the kind suggestions from visitors to this
S. H. Bass
YouTube Videos: Classic Chinese Poetry
TheWine Poets ofAncient China
Fir-Flower Tablets: Poems From The Chinese (1921) by Florence Ayscough
(1878-1942) and Amy Lowell (1874-1925) Li Bai is known as Li Tai-po, and Du
Fu is known as Tu Fu in this translation Free E-Book at Project Gutenberg
_______________________________ *There are but three poets of
China posted at vintagewinepoems.com
that are not from
the Tang era: the unknown author ofThe
Golden Palace , Tao
Yuanming (365-427), and the lastest addition to these pages (June, 2015) the poetessLi Qingzhao(1084-c.1151).