Thursday, July 3, 2008
As the back cover says -
"Li Po, a legendary carouser, was an itinerant poet who is unsurpassed in the scope of his fanciful imagination and who soars to sublime heights in his descriptions of natural scenes and powerful emotions. He has been called 'the immortal of poets'. Tu Fu is a more popular poet. His experiences of civil war imbue his work with great compassion and earthy reality, shot through with humor and desolation, as he views everyday life with an artist's insight. Together these two poets of the T'ang dynasty cover the whole spectrum of human life and feeling, and are often appropriately referred to as one poet, 'Li-Tu'."
Li Po and Tu Fu are two of China's greatest poets, and probably the most recognized in the Western world, but picking up a translated book of their poetry cold can lead to confusion for many new readers. This volume by Penguin doesn't contain many actual poems, but serves as a great introduction before reading them, to understand the structure of their poetry and the cultural contexts and references. It also delves in to the relationship between the two. Great starting point for beginners, or for those who have tried these poets in the past but just didn't quite get them.