The Selected Poems of Wang Wei

The Selected Poems of Wang Wei

Paperback - 2006
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Wang Wei (701-761 C.E.) is often spoken of, with his contemporaries Li Po and Tu Fu, as one of the three greatest poets in China's 3,000-year poetic tradition. Of the three, Wang was the consummate master of the short imagistic landscape poem that came to typify classical Chinese poetry. He developed a nature poetry of resounding tranquility wherein deep understanding goes far beyond the words on the page--a poetics that can be traced to his assiduous practice of Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism. But in spite of this philosophical depth, Wang is not a difficult poet. Indeed, he may be the most immediately appealing of China's great poets, and in Hinton's masterful translations he sounds utterly contemporary. Many of his best poems are incredibly concise, composed of only twenty words, and they often turn on the tiniest details: a bird's cry, a splinter of light on moss, an egret's wingbeat. Such imagistic clarity is not surprising since Wang was also one of China's greatest landscape painters. This is a breathtaking poetry, one that in true Zen fashion renders the ten thousand things of this world in such a way that they empty the self even as they shimmer with the clarity of their own self-sufficient identity.
Publisher: New York : New Directions Books, 2006.
ISBN: 9780811216180
0811216187
Branch Call Number: 895.113
Characteristics: xxi, 116 p. : map ; 23 cm.
Additional Contributors: Hinton, David 1954-

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h
hertz
Aug 05, 2010

First found this book on the shelf, and took it home on an impulse. It has since triggered a greater appreciation for all Chinese poetry of this era. Wang Wei is the zen master of poetry. No better way to escape from the daily barrage of distraction and stress than to let yourself disappear into one of these soothing, nature themed poems. Wisdom is found in the quiet depths offered by this priceless gentleman.

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