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There is a set-phrase in Chinese referring to the phenomenon of Li Po: "Winds of the immortals, bones of the Tao." He moved through this world with an unearthly freedom from attachment, and at the same time belonged profoundly to the earth and its process of change. However ethereal in spirit, his poems remain grounded in the everyday experience we all share. He wrote 1,200 years ago, half a world away, but in his poems we see our world transformed.
Legendary friends in eighth-century T'ang China, Li Po and Tu Fu are traditionally celebrated as the two greatest poets in the Chinese canon. David Hinton’s translation of Li Po’s poems is no less an achievement than his critically acclaimed The Selected Poems of Tu Fu, also published by New Directions. By reflecting the ambiguity and density of the original, Hinton continues to create compelling English poems that alter our conception of Chinese poetry.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Paula on 02-10-18
An intriguing experience
Li Po is an interesting person, an 8th Century Chinese Jack Kerouac. My favorite poem was about drinking wine alone under the moon, with his shadow. He survived a very bloody civil war, and some of his poems are grotesque and sad. I’m thankful to have access to this man’s foreign and ancient yet relatable experiences. It's sad that most of his poems have been lost. The narrator has a wonderful voice.