The T'ang dynasty was the great age of Chinese poetry, and Po Chü-i (772–846) was one of that era's most prolific major poets. His appealing style, marked by deliberate simplicity, won him wide popularity among the Chinese public at large and made him a favorite with readers in Korea and Japan as well. From Po Chü-i's well-preserved corpuspersonally compiled and arranged by the poet himself in an edition of seventy-five chaptersthe esteemed translator Burton Watson has chosen 128 poems and one short prose piece that exemplify the earthy grace and deceptive simplicity of this master poet.
For Po Chü-i, writing poetry was a way to expose the ills of society and an autobiographical medium to record daily activities, as well as a source of deep personal delight and satisfactionconstituting, along with wine and song, one of the chief joys of existence. Whether exposing the gluttony of arrogant palace attendants during a famine; describing the delights of drunkenly chanting new poems under the autumn moon; depicting the peaceful equanimity that comes with old age; or marveling at cool Zen repose during a heat wave... these masterfully translated poems shine with a precisely crafted artlessness that conveys the subtle delights of Chinese poetry.
About the Author
Burton Watson holds a Ph.D. in Chinese Literature from Columbia University and has taught Chinese and Japanese literature at Columbia, Stanford, and Kyoto universities. In 1981 he received the PEN Translation Prize. Having translated dozens of Chinese and Japanese classics, including Chuang Tzu, The Lotus Sutra, and Records of the Grand Historian. Watson is one of the most respected translators of Chinese and Japanese literature.
Table of Contents
Chronology of the Life of Po Chü-i
Record of the Thatched Hall on Mount Lu