From Publishers Weekly
Not a biography, but instead a very coherent book of free translations, this new volume translated by Young (Black Lab
) gives the sense of a life as lived, a life that belongs at once to Du Fu (712–770, also called Tu Fu) and to any sympathetic reader who has experienced beauty in nature, disillusion in politics, or love and trouble at home. These 168 poems, along with clear footnotes, also create a sense of the poets own times. Du Fu began his poetic career as a bachelor writing beautiful seasonal poetry, a close friend of the great, and slightly older, poet Li Bai (Li Po). Autumn again and you and I/ are thistledown in the wind, he told his friend in one early poem. But Du Fu married and began a family, and then, seeking noble patrons, had to travel through war zones. He wrote, in consequence, poems about conscription, battle, poverty and loneliness: on my face new tears/ are running down familiar tracks. Search for secure employment later on brought him to far-flung provincial towns, where he produced his most tranquil verse: here comes some tea and sugarcane juice/ brought down from the house. (Nov.)
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About the Author
has written ten books of poetry, including Black Lab
(2006), At the White Window
(2000), and The Planet on the Desk
: Selected and New Poems
(1991). He has also translated the poems of Petrarch and Eugenio Montale. A past winner of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships and a Pushcart Prize, he is the Longman Professor Emeritus of English and Creative Writing at Oberlin College, and the editor of the Field Poetry Series at Oberlin College Press. He lives in Oberlin, Ohio.