His work is one of the glories of Chinese poetry’s golden age, and it has not ceased to delight readers in the twelve centuries since. Li Po (701–762) wrote of the pleasures of nature, of wine, and of the life of a wandering poet in a way that speaks to us across the centuries with remarkable intimacy—and that special, timeless quality is one of the reasons Li Po became the first of the Chinese poets to gain wide appreciation in the West. His influence is felt in the work of artists as diverse as Ezra Pound and Gustav Mahler. J. P. Seaton’s translations—which include some poems that appear here in English for the first time—bring the poet vividly and playfully to life, and his introductory essay broadens our view of Li Po, both the poet and the man.
“J. P. Seaton’s translations of Chinese poetry, his introductions and commentary on the Chinese poets of the ‘Golden Age’ and their work, are a treasure that I have returned to with gratitude ever since I first discovered them.”—W.S. Merwin, author of The Shadow of Sirius, Winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry