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Special Note:  The Wine Poems of China
Wiki:  Chinese Poetry
The Tang Dynasty of China (618 - 907)* 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 gain 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.

Chinese poetry, including the wine poems presented here, were heavy with a love and respect for nature.  The poems are inundated with exotic sounding place names and many editors include maps of China to aid in understanding these verses.  However, I have avoided this temptation, believing that our imaginations provide a better road map to enjoying these poems than any cartographer could supply.  We simply need to 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 bells come to my mind) that have blessed our dawns and twilights.

The translation of the Tang era poets form an important footnote in the development of modern English poetry.   The “vintage” (ie. public 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 Ezra Pound's little book of translations entitled Cathay, they each found in the conversion of Chinese pictographs into modern English the opportunity to employ a simplicity of verbiage and a “free verse” that mark the beginning of modern poetry.  Ezra Pound and Amy Lowell, although often at-odds with one another, wrote important essays that helped define modern prosody.


The translation of Chinese names into English has produced many examples of multiple names for the same person, place, or thing.  This has been complicated by early translations that adopted Japanese translation of Chinese names.   A confusing situation, indeed.  The original sources for the Chinese poems appearing at vintagewinepoems.com. (see below) reflect this confusion.

The earliest 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, the pinyin system for the translation of  Chinese into English was developed.  It was published by the Chinese government in 1958.  The International Organization for Standardization adopted pinyin as the international standard in 1982. 

Whenever possible, the pinyin system has been employed at vintagewinepoems.com
.  Further revisions may indeed be necessary in the future as my errors are revealed by research or the kind suggestions from visitors to this website. 
- S. H. Bass   


YouTube Videos:  Classic Chinese Poetry


The Wine Poets of Ancient China
at
vintagewinepoems.com
Pre-Tang:
Tao Yuanming (365-427) [4 poems]
Unknown Chinese Poet (1st Century bce) [1 poem]


Tang Era:
Li Bai (701-762)  [38 poems]
Yuan Chieh (723-772) [1 poem]
Du Fu (712-770)  [6 poems]
Bai Juyi (772-846) [10 poems]
Li Shih-chi (early 8th Century) [1 poem]
Tsui Tsung-chi (c. mid-8th Century) [1 poem]

Post-Tang Era:
Li Qingzhao (1084-c.1151)  [17 poems] 


PUBLIC DOMAIN SOURCES:

Cathay (1915)
by Ezra Pound (1885-1972)
Li Bai is known as Rihaku and T'ao Yuanming as T'ao Yuan Ming in this translation

Free E-Book at The Internet Archive                         Free Audio Book at LibriVox



A Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems (1918) and
More Translation from the Chinese (1919)
by Arthur Waley (1889-1966)
Li Bai is known as Li Po, Bai Juyi as Po Chu-I, and T'ao Yuanming as T'ao Ch'ien
in this translation

 Waley's Translations at Project Gutenberg
Drinking Alone by Moonlight I by Li Bai
Drinking Alone by Moonlight II by Li Bai
Drinking Alone by Moonlight III by Li Bai
Self-Abandonment by Li Bai   
Waking From Drunkenness on a Spring Day by Li Bai

Stone Fish Lake by Yuan Chieh

After Passing The Exam by Bai Juyi
Fishing In The Wei River by Bai Juyi
Getting Up Early by Bai Juyi
My Servant Wakes Me by Bai Juyi  
On Being Sixty by Bai Juyi
Planting Flowers On The Eastern Embankment   by Bai Juyi
Rejoicing At The Arrival Of Ch’ēn Hsiung    by Bai Juyi
The Chrysanthemums by Bai Juyi
Thinking Of The Past by Bai Juyi
To His Brother Hsing-Chien by Bai Juyi

Flood by Tao Yuanming
In the quiet of the morning   by Tao Yuanming
Substance, Shadow, and Spirit by Tao Yuanming
   
 The Golden Palace by Unknown Chinese Poet


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

A Farewell Banquet by Li Bai
After Being Drunk On A Spring Day by Li Bai
At The Ancestral Shrine Of King Yao by Li Bai
Descending The Extreme South Mountain by Li Bai
Drinking Alone In The Moonlight I  by Li Bai   
Drinking Alone In The Moonlight II by Li Bai
Drinking Alone On The Rock by Li Bai
Drinking Song by Li Bai
Old Tai's Wine-Shop by Li Bai
On The Eve Of Starting On A Journey by Li Bai
River Chant by Li Bai
Sent As A Parting Gift by Li Bai
Taking Leave Of Du Fu by Li Bai
The Terraced Road by Li Bai
Two Poems Written As Parting Gifts by Li Bai

A Toast for Men Yun-Ch'ing by Du Fu
Sent To Li Bai As A Gift  by Du Fu
Thinking Of Li Bai On A Spring Day by Du Fu


The Works of Li Po, the Chinese Poet  (1921)
by Shigeyoshi Obata (1888-1971)
Li Bai is known as Li Po and  Du Fu as Tu Fu in this translation
Free E-Book at The Internet Archive

A Midnight Farewell by Li Bai
A Mountain Revelry by Li Bai
A Vindication by Li Bai
An Exhortation by Li Bai
Awakening From Sleep On A Spring Day by Li Bai
Before The Cask of Wine by Li Bai   
Maid Of Wu by Li Bai   
On Being Asked Who He Is by Li Bai   
On The Death Of The Good Brewer by Li Bai    
On The Ship Of Spice-wood by Li Bai
On The Yo-Yang Tower by Li Bai
Parting At a Tavern of Chin-Ling by Li Bai        
The Solitude of Night by Li Bai
Three With The Moon And His Shadow by Li Bai
To Meng Hao-jan by Li Bai
While Journeying by Li Bai
With A Man of Leisure by Li Bai

Eight Immortals of the Wine Cup  by Du Fu
To Li Bai by Du Fu
To Li Bai On A Spring Day by Du Fu

The Ex-Minster by Li Shih-chi

An Invitation To Li Bai by Tsui Tsung-chi

_______________________________
*There are but three poets of China posted at vintagewinepoems.com that are not from the Tang era:  the unknown author of The Golden PalaceTao Yuanming (365-427), and the lastest addition to these pages (June, 2015) the poetess Li Qingzhao (1084-c.1151).  
image of a Chinese man (Li Po?) toasting the moon.
Li Bai (701-762)
a print inspired by
Drinking Alone by Moonlight I
translated by Arthur Waley (1889-1966)
VintageWinePoems on Pinterest




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THE POETRY OF ANCIENT CHINA
Early 20th Centruy Translations
Stephen H. Bass, editor


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