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Paperback The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry: From Ancient to Contemporary, the Full 3000-Year Tradition Book

ISBN: 0385721986

ISBN13: 9780385721981

The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry: From Ancient to Contemporary, the Full 3000-Year Tradition

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Book Overview

Unmatched in scope and literary quality, this landmark anthology spans three thousand years, bringing together more than six hundred poems by more than one hundred thirty poets, in translations-many new and exclusive to the book-by an array of distinguished translators. Here is the grand sweep of Chinese poetry, from the Book of Songs -ancient folk songs said to have been collected by Confucius himself-and Laozi's Dao De Jing to the vividly pictorial...

Customer Reviews

3 ratings

Desert island reading

This is the best one-volume collection of Chinese poetry I've yet come across. 600 poems over 3,000 years, step into this book and enter a world. The translations are simple, clean and clear, and, for that, deeply moving.

Great Chinese Masters

These poems touch upon a variety of thoughts and emotions: some reflect the beauty of nature; many explore the process of aging; love, sorrow and death are all spoken to in a distinct way that feels thoroughly Chinese. Some of my favorites touch upon womanhood: "To Be A Woman" by Fu Xuan, "lament" by Princess Lu Xijun. The great masters, Tu Fu, Li Po and Wang Wei are also quite inspiring. My only criticism is the inclusion of the poems of Mao Zedong. While it may have some cultural and historical relavance, Mao's poetry didn't say much to me aside from stale patriotic/idealistic propaganda. The other peoms of love and death were all quite memorable. Comparisons: Translations by Kenneth Rexroth, Xu Yuan Zhong, Greg Wincup

Barnstorming Barnstone

All lovers of Chinese literature will know how central a contribution the Barnstones, father and son, have made to the gradual Anglicization (or Americanization) of at least a small part of the poetic treasures now pouring out of the Middle Kingdom for the world to wake up to at last. This Anchor collection is a noble enterprise and a huge achievement, comparable in scope to earlier anthologies such as those compiled so magisterially by Cyril Birch, Burton Watson, Jonathan Chaves, Victor Mair and Stephen Owen. It is worth buying for the introduction alone, but the originality of the enterprise consists largely in the novelty of so many of the poems chosen. Of course any anthology that claims to include 'the Full 3000-Year Tradition' is guilty of massive over-exaggeration, since it is the nature of anthologies to be highly selective. And if, in your pursuit of the new and the unexpected you choose to leave out a lot of the 'old familiar faces', as Barnstone does, then perhaps the danger is that you may inadvertently give readers who are themselves new to Chinese poetry a slightly false picture of its most salient geographical features. He is a good enough translator at his best to do ample justice to many of those anthology 'plums' that most other anthologists consider indispensable. On the other hand, one can have too much of a good thing, and he may well be right to have sometimes wandered away from the well-trodden highway. A good guide is one who makes the tour idiosyncratic and personal, and Barnstone is certainly that. The overall quality of the poetry, considered as poetry IN ENGLISH, is pretty consistently high: perhaps not quite in the same class as Kenneth Rexroth, Sam Hamill, David Hinton or David Young, but still often bright, fresh and bubbling with energy. No library of Chinese literature in translation should be without this cornucopia of delights.
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