Until very recently poetry was written and appreciated by a very tiny minority of people sufficiently educated to value it. The history of China is unique in the world in that for long stretches of time relative peace reigned in the land and in such a time poets flourished and as the Chinese have long cherished education and the written word and taken great pains to preserve them, happily we can enjoy their works today even if, for us non Chinese speakers, it has to be in translation. The chief among these poets were Li t’ai Bo and Wu fu and they are the poets we present in this collection. They wrote around the middle of the 18th century , when a dynasty of emperors called the Tang brought the necessary peace and stability for the amazing duration of around three hundred years. Europe at this time was tearing itself apart as usual.
The translations were made in the early 1920’s by Florence Ayescough, fluent in the language from an early age and turned into poetic form by the poet Amy Lowell. These two were long time friends from schooldays and their work is charming and convincing. Presenting it on the internet at a time when both China and the rest of the world are blundering about in opposition to each other and seeking division, the poems might serve comfort to anyone who might be seeking common ground. Chinese who have managed to get an education in their own literature see these poems as at the heart of their language. It’s no surprise to find that they chime comfortingly with out own. In this Screenbook the words on the screen follow the delivery of the poems against appropriate backgrounds. AM106SB21 dur: 48'44" 2021 More at https://www.academymedia.uk