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Du Fu: A Life in Poetry [Anglais] [Broché]

Fu Du , David Young

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Description de l'ouvrage

4 novembre 2008
Du Fu (712–770) is one of the undisputed geniuses of Chinese poetry—still universally admired and read thirteen centuries after his death. Now David Young, author of Black Lab, and well known as a translator of Chinese poets, gives us a sparkling new translation of Du Fu’s verse, arranged to give us a tour of the life, each “chapter” of poems preceded by an introductory paragraph that situates us in place, time, and circumstance. What emerges is a portrait of a modest yet great artist, an ordinary man moving and adjusting as he must in troubled times, while creating a startling, timeless body of work.

Du Fu wrote poems that engaged his contemporaries and widened the path of the lyric poet. As his society—one of the world’s great civilizations—slipped from a golden age into chaos, he wrote of the uncertain course of empire, the misfortunes and pleasures of his own family, the hard lives of ordinary people, the changing seasons, and the lives of creatures who shared his environment. As the poet chases chickens around the yard, observes tear streaks on his wife’s cheek, or receives a gift of some shallots from a neighbor, Young’s rendering brings Du Fu’s voice naturally and elegantly to life.

I sing what comes to me
in ways both old and modern

my only audience right now—
nearby bushes and trees

elegant houses stand
in an elegant row, too many

if my heart turns to ashes
then that’s all right with me . . .

from “Meandering River”

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Descriptions du produit


17. REMEMBERING LI BAI ON A SPRING DAYI know no poetry to equal hishis mind must be uniquefreshness of Yu XinBao Zhao’s delicacyas I watch the trees leaf outhere, north of the Weihe’s probably gazing at sunsetthere, east of the Yangziwhen can we sharea pot of wine againtalk on and on about poetryuntil it’s nearly daybreak?21. FRIENDSHIPA flick of the handand it’s rain or stormwherever I lookchange and ficklenessthe old ideal of friendshipas loyalty and permanencehas turned into dirtunder our feet.23–24. A SUMMER OUTINGIHow nice to board the bargeas the sun meets the horizonthe breeze picks upthe water rippleswe sail past grovesof thick bambooand anchor in the coolof water liliesthe young men mixsome icy drinksthe girls are slicinglotus rootsbut the clouds right overheadgrow blackrain makes me rushmy poem.IIThe shower wets the bencheswe were sitting onthe wind blows hardand rocks the boatthe southern girls’red skirts drenchedthe northern beautiesseem to have ruined their makeupthe mooring linesaws and cuts the willowthe barge’s curtains are soakedfrom breaking wavesour going homewill be wet and chillyas if we were having autumnright in the heart of summer.

Biographie de l'auteur

David Young 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.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 étoiles sur 5  7 commentaires
27 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Best Du Fu Translation 14 mars 2009
Par Louis Petrillo - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I've been reading translations of Du Fu's poetry since my undergraduate days when I bought a copy of _ The White Pony _ at my college's bookstore. Since then I've read innumerable translations: Kenneth Rexroth, Burton Watson, William Hinton, Sam Hamill, Red Pine, and who knows how many others. This is the finest of the lot since Rexroth. Already I plan to use one of the poems for a eulogy of a dear friend who's very ill. My only complaint is that he doesn't include the Chinese originals.
22 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 First reading of Du Fu, in any language. 21 mars 2009
Par Julie Vognar - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
It is most of a life in poetry--and occasionally, pictures from that life that are startling, both for their strangeness and their familiarity. How much do we know of the the private feelings of a man from 8th century China? David Young ties the story together, with his translation, and his references to people, places, times, and the translators who have gone before him. (All my comments around the three poems are either his, or inspired by his).

Du Fu has already failed the Imperial exam, already met Li Bai, whose poetry he loves, and thinks, but restlessly, of becoming a hermit-poet. At thirty, he looks at a painting--with the eyes of a young man(how many old Chinese paintings can we see today with "white" silk? How many--fragments-- that anyone could have seen in 742?):

Memorable portrait
of a falcon

the white silk
gives off wind and frost

is he watching fiercely
for a rabbit?

angry foreigner
he looks at me askance

he has a chain and ring
ready to unfasten

I could almost
take him off his perch

send him out to find
some of those little larks

scatter blood and feathers
on the prairie.


Five years before the An-Lushan rebellion (755), the border fighting which--partly-- inspired it was already underway:

...tax gatherers go back and forth
but where will the taxes come from?

it makes us question whether
there's any sense in having sons

daughters can marry neighbors
boys seem born to die in foreign weeds

have you seen how the bones from the past
lie bleached and uncollected near Black Lake?

the new ghosts moan, the old ghosts moan--
we hear them at night, hear them in the rain.


Trapped, as a loyalist in the capital at Chang'an (756-58) Du Fu writes a poem for his wife---perhaps the first to show romantic attachment to a wife--most expressions of affection were written to male companions and courtesans:

in this same moonlight

my wife is alone at her window
in Fuzhou

I can hardly bear
to think of my children

too young to understand
why I can't come to them

her hair
must be damp from the mist

her arms
cold jade in the moonlight

when will we stand together
by those slack curtains

while the moonlight dries
the tear-streaks on our faces?


There is poverty, pride of brief ownership, the joys of reading and writing poetry, old age (which seems to begin at about 40!), and many other facets of his life here. I don't know why I chose these three...
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Du Fu shall thank Mr. David Young! 9 août 2010
Par L. liu - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Oh, mine! Du Fu in his life time never was praised and respected with such attention, even though he (my idol) deserved all the praise!
A Poet's Biography and his Poetry in one booklet in picturical and musical English!
This is the best way to honor a poet, and all of English poems of Du Fu, that I always telling myself that poetry can be translated when I become a part of that poet, and what's better than a bio and poems on every page in the order of years (timeline). David Young is awesome poet and I can feel how much life he spends to just meditate with the words of Du Fu, I am a Chinese and American too, I could recite most beautiful verses of Tang and Song poets, I have so many poetry dictionaries that categorized by topic, object, style, scene, image... but I have not seen a lot of poet's bio and poems in 'one', but Mr. Young created something new for poets. This way readers may understand the poet more, why he writes curtain poem and how he feels at that moment in his life, and the same journey we are guided by this.
This book is must buy! and Mr. Young's Five Tang Poets too!
If our parent is smart, then we must give our teenage children this book and along some others, these poets are the best teachers in human history, because they condense their life and soul into a few beautiful words that we can obtain the lesson of art, wisdom and humanity thru all the natural English poems. And this translation, all the poems are natural as Chinese aesthetic standard, Natural (Zi Ran ''''the highest standard for art or skill, which the thought and character and action of a person harmoniously meld into one with nature and society, and Wang Wei, Li Po, Du Fu... and many are all natural, and now Mr. David Young's translation and a few other awesome Chinese poetry translators mastered their words and feeling and thought to be natural with my idol Chinese poets, and I guess poets are all stream into the source, the one source, and that's where they all come from. And I believe all these translators are going something great right now, and future will praise them forever!
I hope someone would publish my poems and a short bio in one booklet after I am with all the great poets, oh, so happy about my idol and so much envy too!
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Du Fu Lives! 13 septembre 2009
Par Erik C. Pihl - Publié sur Amazon.com
This book is a wonderful combination: part poetry, part biography. The biographical writing is clean and crisp, the translations read well in English. A great addition to the library of anyone interested in one of the great Chinese poets.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 China's greatest poet lived through history's greatest collapse 9 septembre 2009
Par Max Kummerow - Publié sur Amazon.com
In 754 China had a very wet, cold year and much of the grain rotted in the fields. In 755 a general in charge of northeast China rebelled against the emperor who had been preoccupied with his mistress and not paying enough attention to administration. A year later the emperor's troops made him watch as the concubine was strangled. The census before the rebellion counted 53 million Chinese. Ten years later after the rebellion was put down, the next census counted 17 million. If these numbers are right, 36 million people, two out of three Chinese, did not survive, probably the worst collapse of a human society in history in terms of numbers and percentage. Some of Du Fu's poems give us a window to what it was like to live through such an appalling disaster.

In a long life in poetry, Du Fu captured many emotions and scenes--friendship, happy alcohol drinking, family life, nature, social injustice, political maneuvering. Du Fu saw and wrote it all down with economical language that captured the essence of his world. Translating Chinese poetry presents a huge challenge--the quality of the result has a lot to do with the translator. A little book called "15 translations of a poem by Wang Wei" (another Tang Dynasty poet) shows how the Chinese use of allusions and metaphor allow many different English versions, some more poetic, reflecting the poetic abilities, depth of knowledge and biases of the translator. Gary Snyder and Burton Watson are my favorite translators. But this book is pretty good. These English poems kind of get the job done, rendering the meaning with some grace and beauty and the openness to interpretation where a great poet allows us to draw our own meaning from the elusive words.
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