Poems of Li Bai and Du Fu is a bilingual collection of English and Chinese versions of poetry by Li Bai and Du Fu, the most renowned poets in all of Chinese literature. Translated by Keith Holyoak, this volume includes an introduction to the poets and their work, plus a bibliography. Holyoak's translations capture the essential beauty of the poets’ language, while retaining key elements of the structure of the original poems, including their metric form and rhyme scheme. The poems transport the reader back to the Tang dynasty of 8th-century China, while at the same time conveying timeless insights into the human condition that remain as relevant today as they were centuries ago.
|Publisher:||O y s t e r R i v e r P r e s s|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||4 MB|
About the Author
Keith Holyoak, poet, translator of classical Chinese poetry, and cognitive scientist, was raised on a dairy farm in British Columbia, Canada. His scientific work focuses on the nature of human thinking and its basis in the brain. He has been a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Currently he is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of the poetry collection MY MINOTAUR (Dos Madres Press, 2010) and translator of FACING THE MOON: POEMS OF LI BAI AND DU FU (Oyster River Press, 2007).
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Nandita Keshavan for Readers' Favorite Keith Holyoak’s Facing the Moon is an interesting anthology of ancient Chinese poetry by the famous poets Li Bai and Du Fu. During translation from the original Chinese verse, he manages to capture the sentiments of the verses without affecting the artistic flow. The book begins with informative background on the two poets and the historical time in which they lived. Several of the poems deal with sadness, but there is a wistful and nostalgic beauty in them which makes it clear that the melancholic sentiment is mixed with gratitude for friendship and good times. Furthermore, the poets also write in humorous tones which give an entertaining quality to their bumbling travels and encounters. Often it’s their simplicity and innocence which draw you in to sympathise and laugh with them. Occasionally the poetry is from the point of view of one of their wives, which shows the poet’s ability to expand his awareness into the thoughts of women. There are also pitiable times of poverty and lone moments where the search for spiritual guidance is apparent and these give the selection an element of realism and integration of different facets of life. Scenic backdrops are beautifully described. Occasionally, there is an element of solitude and communion with the moon – and the irony that arises regarding its silent serene presence despite turbulence or loneliness within the writer. Another aspect that is also achieved by the book is capturing the friendship between the two poets, who teased each other and also experienced a moving sense of kinship which becomes most apparent during Du Fu’s reaction to the exile of Li Bai. The book also includes photographs of the poems written in the original Chinese script which illustrates the overall visual artistic effect of the beautiful Chinese script. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in exploring how themes of isolation, poverty and loss can interweave with friendship, camaraderie and beautiful expressions on family and nature.
Keith Holyoak has done a great job in bringing Chinese poetry to the fore of Western public. The translator deserves much credit for these poems read as if they were originally written in English. He brings us a big step closer to the music of an ancient and culturally distant century. Some poems take a more metaphysical tone but never fail to be touching and humane
Very serene. Simple, but descriptive. Keith paints cozy scenes of Far East life. I cannot only picture it, I can feel, taste and smell these places. Very vivid.
Keith Holyoak brings the mastery of these ancient eastern poets to life in our western context. Like Shakespeare these poets works are timeless, themes of joy despair, awe of nature and friendship in the artists work ring true universally, crossing cultures and time lines. A rich historical account at the beginning of the volume is an added bonus.