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The Tang dynasty (618–907) was the golden age of Chinese poetry. Much the best-known anthology of Tang poems in Chinese is Three Hundred Tang Poems, and this book is a new translation of all the poems in that anthology. It includes the work of many of China’s most admired poets, among them Du Fu and Li Bai as well as Bai Juyi, Li Shangyin andWangWei.
Compiledin the eighteenth centuryby the scholarSun Zhu, the original Three Hundred Tang Poems is divided up by type of poem, rather than author. There are three main types. ‘Old-style poems’, which come at the beginning of the anthology, are poems of any length. ‘Regulated poems’ are eight lines long, with stricter rules about rhyme and tone, and two couplets in the middle that each have matching lines. ‘Cut-off lines’, which Sun Zhu puts at the end, are poems with just four lines each. Nearly all the poems have five or seven characters per line, with the five-character poems coming first.
Here the poems are given by poet, in alphabetical order of name in romanized (pinyin) form. Then under each poet the poems are all arranged by type, as in the original. (Nearly all of them, anyway—a few have been rearranged for reasons of space.) There are some short notes at the back with explanations of names and other references.