The Clouds Float North: The Complete Poems of Yu Xuanji

The Clouds Float North: The Complete Poems of Yu Xuanji

by Yu Xuanji
     
 

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“Outside of her remarkable poems, we know next to nothing about Yu Xuanji,” David Young writes. “She was born in 844 and died in 868, at the age of twenty-four, condemned to death for the murder of her maid…We owe the survival of her forty-nine poems to the ancient Chinese anthologists’ urge to be complete.”

The poems gathered in

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Overview

“Outside of her remarkable poems, we know next to nothing about Yu Xuanji,” David Young writes. “She was born in 844 and died in 868, at the age of twenty-four, condemned to death for the murder of her maid…We owe the survival of her forty-nine poems to the ancient Chinese anthologists’ urge to be complete.”

The poems gathered in this bilingual (Chinese/English) edition will be read again and again for their beauty. The works preserve Yu Xuanji’s passion, her sharp eye for detail, her often witty variations on familiar Chinese themes, all of which give the poems an immediacy one rarely finds in ancient, translated texts. Poems addressed to Yu Xuanji’s husband and to other men (some famous poets) and women give us some sense of her relationships; the book also includes other traditional Chinese forms such as meditations on landscapes and occasional poems commemorating feast days. As noted in the introduction, the poetry also provokes us to think about the act of writing, about the culture and politics of the T’ang Dynasty, and about gender.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780819563446
Publisher:
Wesleyan University Press
Publication date:
11/20/1998
Series:
Wesleyan Poetry Series
Edition description:
Bilingual Chinese-English ed.
Pages:
96
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

You're free and at leisure now
no company to distract you . . .
lie there in your bed
with books spread all around you
a little too happy to bother
rising to fix your hair.
--from "Curing Yourself When Lovesick"

What People are saying about this

Jane Hirshfield
A rich human presence steps forth in these beautiful and moving poems -- a sensibility both refined and precise, an intelligence both passionate and keen. This book enlarges our knowledge of the history of women's writing, and of Chinese poetry's particular and mysterious powers.

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