Laughing Lost in the Mountains: Poems of Wang Wei

Overview

The largest selection from the work of Wang Wei (circa 699-761), one of the finest poets in China's long literary history, is offered here in accessible and definitive translations. Wang Wei is among the three most important Chinese poets (with Li Po and Tu Fu) and wrote during the Tang Dynasty, the pinnacle of Chinese literary achievement. Though widely known to Western readers, his work has never before been presented in such a comprehensive volume in English. The 171 poems here may be read with pleasure by the...
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Overview

The largest selection from the work of Wang Wei (circa 699-761), one of the finest poets in China's long literary history, is offered here in accessible and definitive translations. Wang Wei is among the three most important Chinese poets (with Li Po and Tu Fu) and wrote during the Tang Dynasty, the pinnacle of Chinese literary achievement. Though widely known to Western readers, his work has never before been presented in such a comprehensive volume in English. The 171 poems here may be read with pleasure by the general reader and scholar alike, for the distinguished translators succeed in making the pieces work poetically in modern English while still retaining their ecstasy of stillness and quiet lucidity. A critical introduction provides helpful background and compares Wang Wei to mystical poets in other cultures; extensive endnotes permit deeper appreciation of the works. Wang Wei was a talented musician, painter, and poet who served in various official posts throughout his life, at times suffering banishment and even imprisonment as he came in or out of favor. During frequent retreats to his country estate on the Wang River, he sought the "reality of disengagement and the study of nonbeing and illumination," write the Barnstones. A devout Buddhist, he wrote "poems of eremitic seclusion" in which the empty mountain, rain, clouds, and other aspects of nature form a literary landscape painting rich with meaning. The poet is "invisibly present and intensely personal" in poems on grief, friendship, loneliness, reverie, exile, and aging. Without being theological, he evokes key notions of Buddhism and Taoism in these exquisitely rendered translations that shimmer with beauty and quietude.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874515633
  • Publisher: University Press of New England
  • Publication date: 1/1/1992
  • Edition description: Trans. from the Chinese
  • Pages: 244

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Ecstasy of Stillness
Empty Mountain
Nature and Vision
The Old Man in the Mountain
Deep Nature in the West and a Chinese Paysage of Symbols
An Uneventful Life
The Cult of Friendship
The An Lushan Rebellion
The Music of a Silence
Taoism and Chan Buddhism
La Musica Callada of St. John of the Cross
Poetics of Impersonality and a Personal Poet
Wang Wei in China and Our Translation
Translation: The Art of Possibility
My Cottage at Deep South Mountain
Written in the Mountains in Early Autumn
Deep South Mountain
In the Mountains
Sketching Things
Living in the Mountain on an Autumn Night
Climbing the City Tower North of the River
From Dasan Pass, Going Through Shaggy Forests and Dense Bamboo, Climbing Paths Winding for Forty or Fifty Miles to Yellow Ox Peak Where I See Yellow Flower River Shining
Written in My Garden in the Spring
Autumn Night Sitting Alone, Thinking Of My Brother-in-Law Cui
Going to the Country in the Spring
Drifting on the Lake
Lodging at Master Dao Yi's Mountain Chamber
Stone Gate Temple in the Blue Field Mountains
From Ascetic Wang Wei to Hungry Zhang Yin
Inspired by the Mountains Around Us I Write For Brother Cui Jizhong of Puyang
Written on a Rainy Autumn Night After Pei Di's Visit
Cooling Off
A Picture of Mountain Life
Lazy about Writing Poems
Writing on a Piece of Shale
East River Moon
About Old Age, in Answer to a Poem by Subprefect Zhang
Answering the Poem Su Left in My Blue Field Mountain Country House, on Visiting and Finding Me Not Home
Huazi Hill
Deer Park
Grainy Apricot Wood Cottage
Magnolia Enclosure
House Hidden in the Bamboo Grove
At Lake Yi
South Hill
Luan Family Rapids
White Pebble Shoal
Waves of Willow Trees
Lakeside Pavilion
Magnolia Basin
Meng Wall Hollow
Return to Wang River
You Asked about My Life. I Send You, Pei Di, These Lines
To Pei Di, While We Are Living Lazily at Wang River
Living Lazily by the Wang River
Written at Wang River Estate in the Rain
Leaving Wang River Estate
Appreciating the Visit of a Few Friends at a Time When I Left My Official Post and Lived in My Wang River Estate
Birds Sing in the Ravine
Lotus Flower Pier
Dike with Cormorants
Duckweed Pond
To My Cousin Qiu, Military Supply Official
On the Way to Morning Audience
Spring Night at Bamboo Pavilion, Presenting a Poem To Subprefect Qian about His Staying for Good in Blue Field Mountains
On Being Demoted and Sent Away to Qizhou
For Zhang, Exiled in Jingzhou, Once Advisor to the Emperor
Goodbye to Wei, District Magistrate of Fangcheng, on His Way to Remote Chu
Seeing Off Prefect Ji Mu as He Leaves Office and Goes East of the River
Winter Night, Writing about My Emotion
Written for He the Fourth in Return for a Country Cotton Wrap-Around Hat
Saying Goodbye to a Friend Returning to the Mountains
Saying Goodbye to Qui Wei Who Failed His Exam and Returns East of the Yangzi River
The Emperor Commands a Poem Be Written and Sent to My Friend, the Prefect Wei Xi
Saying Goodbye to Ji Mu Qian Who Failed His Exam and Is Going Home
The Mountain Dwelling of Official Wei
Looking into the Distance and Missing My Home at West Building with Official Wu Lang
While I Was a Prisoner in Puti Monastery, Pei Di Came to Visit. He Told Me How the Rebels Forced the Court Musicians to Play at Frozen Emerald Pond. They Sang, and When I Heard This, My Tears Fell. Secretly I Composed These Verses and Gave Them to Pei Di
Ding Yu's Farm
Visiting Jia's Chamber on Mount Tai Yi
For Wei Mu the Eighteenth
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