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The Selected Poems of T'ao Ch'ien Paperback – May 1, 2000
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Early Spring, Kuei Year Of The Hare, Thinking
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Form, Shadow, Spirit: 1. Form Addresses Shadow
Form, Shadow, Spirit: 2. Shadow Replies
Form, Shadow, Spirit: 3. Spirit Answers
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Home Again Among Gardens And Fields
An Idle 9/9 At Home
In Reply To Liu Ch'ai-sang
In The 6th Month, Wu Year Of The Horse, Fire Broke Out
Reading He Classic Of Mountains And Seas
Returning To My Old Home
Scolding My Sons
Seeing Guests Off At Governor Wang's
Steady Rain, Drinking Alone
Thinking Of Impoverished Ancients
Together, We All Go Out Under The Cypress Trees In The Chou
Wandering At Hsieh Creek
Written In The 12th Month, Kuei Year Of The Hare
Written On Passing Through Ch'u-o, Newly Appointed
Written One Morning In The 5th Month After Tai Chu-pu's Poem
-- Table of Poems from Poem Finder®
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Top Customer Reviews
Then one day he simply walked out on it all. He walked deep into the countryside and became a recluse and a farmer. He did this because he couldn't stand to serve overbearing and arrogant superiors. But mostly, he couldn't stand being distracted from a life of inner peace centered around the flow of nature. It also cut down on his drinking time.
T-ao Ch'ien didn't retire to become a gentleman farmer. He howed his own crops- and the rice jar was often empty. He seemed to have lived a life close to Thoreau's ideal, except that he kept it up for over 40 years until his death- a death that he did not fear.
Don't think that this was an idyllic period in Chinese history. The empire had been driven from the north. Rebellion raged in both the east and west. The empire was disintegrating. The poet talks about how few neighbors he had because the countryside was depopulated. Yet, nowhere will you find poetry that speaks more truthfully about the quiet, harmonious life lived close to the earth. There is no striving here. T'ao Ch'ien had already reached enlightenment before he ever put pen to paper. For a poet that never actually mentions the great Tao, it is obvious that his every moment was spent in its embrace.
The poet makes it clear that he doubts the existance of heaven and of the immortals. He would live his life no differently if they did; he would regard inevitable death no differently. One can not but hope that he was in error here, for if any being deserved a place at the table of the immortals it was T'ao Ch'ien- with an ever flowing wine jar.
And if you enjoy long walks in wilderness, or if you enjoy solitude, then reading these poems will feel like nourishment.
The Biography of Mr. Five Willows is a particular favorite, and brings me to a point I have about the writing: I prefer the small amount of prose to many of the poems because I dislike the (translator's?) use of enjambment.
So, I have a question for reviewers who have also read the original: Does T'ao Ch'ien use enjambment across couplets/stanzas?
In English, it makes some of the poetry hard to read--it puts these long awkward pauses between couplets, in the middle of clauses, which don't seem natural. These pauses aren't like the pause between out-breath and in-breath, it's more like holding your breath.
To be clear, I'm not against enjambment, I just don't think it was well done here. I felt as if the enjambment was a product of trying to keep the lines of poetry the same length, and aesthetically similar. I eventually "got over it" and started to read the poetry without pausing for enjambment, but I thought it was a poor decision on the part of the translator. If the enjambment exists in the Chinese as well, is it put to better use?
Regardless, I would give the translator 5 stars anyway, because these poems really hit the spot.
Our son plays beside me. Too young
to speak, he keeps trying new sounds.
All this brings back such joy I forget
glittering careers ...
which I find a very refreshing balsam for our ridiculously fast-pace times.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Taoist poetry at its best! It was a mandatory read for my college class, but I really enjoyed the nature poetry within this book! Read morePublished 2 months ago by The Constant Reader
The tap root...that upon which so much has been built but none have done better.Published 5 months ago by kevin hinckley
Short (91 pp.), elegant book from Copper Canyon Press, containing poems by classical Chinese poet T'ao Ch'ien, translated by David Hinton. Read morePublished 7 months ago by LostMarble
Brilliant, wondrous material, translated as to be readable and utterly contemporary-seeming. This is the most exciting book of poetry I have found since Jane Hirschfield's INK DARK... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Gavin G. Dillard
As a rule... the older, the more relevant it is to today. This one is no exception.Published 11 months ago by Cincy Kid
i loved reading this poetry and i am enjoying re-reading it. i am sure they are something i will savor again and again. The poems are accessible and lyrical. Read morePublished 20 months ago by appreciator of art