Anthology of Modern Chinese Poetry


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Edited and translated by Michelle Yeh

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This book—the first comprehensive anthology in English of modern Chinese poetry—presents more than three hundred poems by sixty-six poets from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. All the poems are translated from the original Chinese into modern-day English, and many are introduced to the English-speaking world for the first time. The poems, which span the period from the 1910s to the present, represent the three watersheds in modern Chinese poetry: the early years, before the civil war and Communist rule halted serious literary pursuits; the Taiwan phase, from the 1950s to the 1970s, when the vernacular became the new poetic medium and broadened the scope of poetic expression; and the post-1970s, when avant-garde movements brought a resurgence of aesthetic consciousness and artistic experimentation. The anthology includes a lengthy introduction, biographical notes for each poet, and a select bibliography.

Michelle Yeh's introduction provides a critical analysis of the rise and development of modern Chinese poetry. She argues that the poetry can be viewed collectively as an original and imaginative reaction to the marginalization of poetry in the twentieth century by various historical, sociopolitical, and ideological forces, and it is in this framework that we can best understand the major debates and controversies in the history of modern Chinese poetry. Voices from the margin, the poems in this volume powerfully evoke the richness and complexity of modern Chinese society and culture.

Michelle Yeh, associate professor of Chinese at the University of California, Davis, is also the author of Modern Chinese Poetry: Theory and Practice since 1917.

"An important anthology that provides an excellent introduction to the emergence of modern Chinese poetry in both mainland China and Taiwan. The translations are truly superior, with unusual sensitivity to the nuances of the original."—Kang-i Sun Chang, Yale University

"Arranged chronologically, this selection of twentieth-century poetry from China and Taiwan offers a few poems by each of 67 poets born between 1891 and 1963. Its scope is enormous, its range impressive. Editor Yeh's translations are accessible and fluid. . . . An excellent, comprehensive collection."—Pat Monaghan, Booklist

"The best presentation of the range and the history of modern Chinese poetry to date. . . . A rich testimony to the experience of Chinese intellectuals in the twentieth century."—Stephen Owen, New Republic

"The translations are extremely readable, well-paced, vivaciously colloquial, with a good sense of rhythm (the pitfall of many translations of modern Chinese poems). . . . This is rich fare for the discerning student of modern Chinese poetry, whetting the appetite for deeper explorations of individual figures."—Eugene Eoyang, Journal of Asian Studies

"Elegantly edited, presented, and translated."—Choice

"This book is the best presentation of the range and the history of modern Chinese poetry to date. . . . Yeh's volume is a rich testimony to the experience of Chinese intellectuals in the twentieth century."—Stephen Owen, The New Republic

"Ms. Yeh's selection is well-informed and representative; her translations excel in accuracy and expression across more than eighty years of Chinese poetry."—Yanbing Chen, Notre Dame Review

"Definitely the best book I have read in English about modern Chinese poetry."—C. H. Wang, University of Washington

"With her insight into the obstacles that face modern Chinese poets, Yeh provides an analysis whose implications transcend the purely literary realm and are relevant to the social and political life in modern China."—Independent Scholars of Asia Newsletter

ISBN: 9780300059472
Publication Date: February 23, 1994
294 pages, 6 1/4 x 9 1/2
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