Chinese Poetry

This course looks at the jingjie (poetic realm) explored by Chinese poetry as a whole. We will discuss representative works from several periods: classical odes of the Zhou Dynasty, rhapsodies from the ancient southern tradition, verse from the Tang dynasty onward, lyrics from the Song onward and Yuan arias. We will trace the paths of association made by Chinese poets, and see how Chinese poets viewed each other's work.

I will give talks on the lives and times of the best poets and ask class members to give presentations. Sample topics for presentations include: assimilation into Western-language poetry; questions of translation; questions of poetics; and the expression of Buddhist themes in Tang and Song poetry. The course will be based on English translations, but we will refer to interlinear texts of Tang poets.
Modern Chinese Poetry

Taught by Denis Mair and Charles Potts

The worldwide impact of modernity has been no respecter of legacies, but Chinese civilization has put a unique cultural stamp on all its Western influences. Nowhere is this borne out more clearly than in modern poetry, in which we observe the East-West clash of languages and worldviews in a medium of personal expression.

This class will discuss poems by Bei Dao and other Mainland poets who wrote in the aftermath of a convulsive break with tradition: Duo Duo, Meng Lang, Yan Li, Zhai Yongming, Yi Sha, etc. For comparison, we will also sample several poets from Taiwan, where modernism has remained open to traditional sources. Our discussion will focus on poetry as a reflection of the social reality in hina since the late Seventies.