The Selected Poems of Tu Fu
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
For over a millennium, Chinese literati have almost unanimously considered Tu Fu (712-770 A.D.) to be their greatest poet.
Tu Fu radically altered poetry as he found it in the High T’ang period. In addition to making formal innovations in language and structure, he extended the range of acceptable subject matter to include all aspects of public and private experience, thus becoming in the words of translator David Hinton, “the first complete poetic sensibility in Chinese literature.”
This edition of The Selected Poems of Tu Fu is the only comprehensive selection of the poet's work currently available in English. While retaining a scholar's devotion to the text, Hinton has attempted “to recreate Tu Fu's poems as new systems of uncertainty." By reflecting all the ambiguity and density of the originals, he has created compelling English poems that significantly alter our conception of Chinese poetry. Included with the poems are the translator’s introduction and translation principles. as well as a biography of Tu Fu; together these provide a fascinating portrait of a uniquely sensitive spirit during one of the most tumultuous periods in Chinese history.
Fu’s poetry: the despair of a Confucian loss of faith. The human community was itself sacred and absolute in the Confucian order (its “religious” structure was manifest in a system of myth and ritual). By the end of his life, Tu had precious little reason for faith in that order. And without it, without civilization which was its full embodiment, nothing remained for him but an abyss—a metaphysical abyss come to life in the form of barbarian armies threatening to destroy China. Nevertheless,
flows, an immaculate Patience against those who will return. NIGHT AT THE TOWER Yin and yang cut brief autumn days short. Frost and snow Clear, leaving a cold night open at the edge of heaven. Marking the fifth watch, grieving drums and horns erupt as A river of stars, shadows trembling, drifts in Three Gorges. Pastoral weeping—war heard in how many homes? And tribal Songs drifting from the last woodcutters and fishermen…. Chu-ko Liang, Pai-ti: all brown earth in the end. And it Opens,
great moments of human civilization. In 712 A.D. Hsüan-tsung began his 43-year rule of China. The frugality and devotion of his government were legendary; corruption was rare and taxation light. His able generals secured the borders against ever-threatening barbarians, and within China there was peace and prosperity. Under his enthusiastic patronage, arts and letters flourished. Indeed, his reign is considered the pinnacle of Chinese cultural achievement. By the time his later excesses and
close friends. That summer, because of his association with the Fang Kuan group, Tu Fu himself suffered a mild form of banishment. He was sent to Hua-chou, a town between Ch’ang-an and Lo-yang, where he served as Commissioner of Education. The following January, apparently on official business, Tu went to Lo-yang. He used this opportunity to advise the commanders who had been sent to subdue the remaining rebels. In fact, this may well have been the real purpose of his trip. His advice was
half-white, forty years, 76 Landscape, 47 Late Spring, 86 Late Spring: Written on Our New Nan g-west House, 87 Leaning on a Cane, 66 Leaving Kung-an at Dawn, 107 Li Stops by on a Summer Day, 16 Lives two people live drift without, 35 Looming rain and reckless wind, an indiscriminate, 18 Loss and ruin ended, at peace far from, 94 Lovely in late sun: mountains, a river, 86 Lovely rains, knowing their season, 61 Meandering River, 34 Meandering River desolate, autumn skies