Nature's Poets: Chinese Poetry of Two Millennia

Contributions by: Ha Poong Kim

This collection of nature poems of China includes nearly 250 poems by thirty-three poets over two millennia. Part One provides selections from the two oldest anthologies: the Shi Jing ("Classic of Songs") and the Chu Ci ("Songs of the South"). Included in this part are folk songs of ancient China, as well as two long poems by Qu Yuan (340-278 BCE), the first known poet of China. Part Two begins with Tao Yuanming of the Eastern Jin (317-420). It includes not only the well-known poets of the Tang (618-906) and Song (960-1279) periods, such as Wang Wei, Li Bai, Du Fu, Bai Juyi, Su Shi, and Lu You, but also over twenty lesser known poets. Traditionally, there are two genres of nature poems in China: tianyuan shi (field/ garden poems) and shan shui shi (mountain/ water poems). These poems are often read in light of the Daoist philosophy. However, no philosophical understanding of nature is necessary to appreciate what these nature poets "sing." The poems in this collection are not ordinary lyrical songs but songs of longing in which the reader may hear the life spirit's protest against the oppression of human civilization. In his long poem Oh, Let Me Return, Tao Yuanming sings his longing for return to nature, away from "the net of dust." [Subject: Poetry, Chinese History, Chinese Poetry, Asian Studies]

Publication Date: 8/1/2017
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781845198886