Singing of Scented Grass: verses from the Chinese
210 x 148 mm, 132 pp, paperback, colour cover with b&w illustrations
Price $AU 24.95
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About the book
Singing of Scented Grass, with its timeless poetry from ancient China, bridges the gap across centuries and cultures with its longing for the simplicity of the Way. These beautiful translations of Tang dynasty poets speak to the heart. Accompanied by the Chinese text for most of the poems, illustrated by Chan-style brush paintings, and with an underlying spirit of Zen Buddhism, this is a book that will delight the senses and stir the emotions.
Singing of Scented Grass will appeal to lovers of poetry, to those interested in the culture and philosophy of China, to those who feel disaffected by the pressure of modern living, to students of the classics, to Chinese speakers, and to all who appreciate beautiful things.
Within the city who gazes at clouds and mountains?
The illustrations by Melba Nielson, Susan Collis and Keith Smith of the 'Forest of Brushes' school of Chan painting on South Bruny Island complement the poems, with their strong Buddhist flavour and their many descriptions of nature.
The inclusion of the Chinese text for the shorter poems by Wang Wei and Li Shangyin shows the formal structure of the originals, and will be appreciated by those who read, speak or study Chinese.
'This sings well in English...it sits well with the recent work published in Australia by Selwyn Pritchard, as it does with the refinements of Vikram Seth and Arthur Waley and, dare one say it, that warrior of vigorous diction, Ezra Pound.' - Barry Hill, Weekend Australian April 17-18, 2004
'Singing of Scented Grass is a unique selection of Tang poetry by Wang Wei, Bai Juyi and Li Shangyin, followed by the translator's own poems that interrogate the Confucian ideal of aspiring to high political office. These elegant translations from the Chinese testify to the depth of Johnston's engagement with these Tang masters...' - Mabel Lee, University of Sydney
Samples of poems
- Written in Light-Hearted Vein on the Great Rock
- Huazi Ridge
- The Red Thread Carpet
- Night Rain - Sent North
- Reading the Analects
- Accompanying the book is a set of study notes (PDF document, 61KB).