Education About Asia: Online Archives

Using The Shambhala Anthology of Chinese Poetry in the Classroom

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272 PAGES, ISBN: 978-1570628627, PAPERBACK

Reviewed by Fay Beauchamp

For The Shambhala Anthology of Chinese Poetry, Professor J.P. Seaton draws upon a lifetime of translating and teaching Chinese philosophical classics as well as off-beat poets who prefer as an artistic subject “a rat, with some scurry left in him” to “elegant dragons” (207). In his introduction and notes, Seaton’s high regard for teaching and for Chinese poetry is evident. The poetry is culled so that it represents the Chinese literary canon and the author’s favorites. It does not overwhelm but invites the reader to pursue enjoyment of literature.


Fenollosa, Ernest, and Ezra Pound. The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry: A Critical Edition. Edited byHaun Saussy, Jonathan Stalling, and Lucas Klein. New York: University of Fordham Press, 2008.

Lawall, Sarah, et al., eds. The Norton Anthology of World Literature, 2nd ed. Vol. A: The Beginnings to AD 100. New York: Norton, 2003.

Lawall, Sarah, et al., eds. The Norton Anthology of World Literature, 2nd ed. Vol. B: 100– 1500. New York: Norton, 2003.

Mair, Victor H., Nancy Steinhardt, and Paul R. Goldin, eds. Hawai`i Reader in Traditional Chinese Culture. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 2005.

Owen, Stephen, ed. and trans. An Anthology of Chinese Literature. New York: Norton, 1996.

Pound, Ezra. The complete set of the sixteen poems, primarily translated from Li Po, of the 1915 Cathay are on the Internet at multiple websites.

Waley, Arthur, trans. One Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems. Chambersburg, PA: Chapman Billies, 2005; London: Constable & Co, 1939, 1962.

Watson, Burton, trans. and ed. Columbia Book of Chinese Poetry: From Early Times to the Thirteenth Century. New York: Columbia University Press, 1984.

Owen, Mair, Pound, Waley, and Watson provide excellent alternate translations for many of the poems that Seaton includes, and their introductions and wide selection provide essential cultural contexts. These translations should be respected as among the best modern poetry in English.

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