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This web site is dedicated to the preservation of the spirit of Tang poetry.

Li Bai and Du Fu

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Read poems by the greatest masters of Tang poetry translated by Lan Hua

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The Adventures of Monkey King

Have you ever heard of the Adventures of Monkey King? A great classic now available in a new translation from Lan Hua

The Gan Yu

Chen Zi'ang is one of the early masters of Tang poetry. Now you can read some of his poems translated for the first time into English by Lan Hua

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The Gan Yu by Chen Zi'ang

The Gan Yu by Chen Zi'ang is a remarkable collection of 38 poems that were written in the earliest years of the Tang period. Often overlooked even by scholars of Chinese literature, these poems have remained somewhat overshadowed by the brilliance of the Tang poets, such as Wang Wei, Li Bai and Du Fu, who came came to prominence in the decades immediately thereafter. Lan Hua is in the process of translating the complete Gan Yu into English for the first time.

The Gan Yu offers us a chance to better understand the origins of Tang poetry, as it constitutes one of the crucial sources in the development of the mature Tang lyric style. Some of the poems present a challenge to the translator and modern reader as they are very contemplative and imbued with a spirit of profound Taoist mystery. They are also filled with reference to people and events from China's rich historical past. Nonetheless, Chen Zi'ang's voice emerges very distinctively with a timbre that shares much with the mature Tang style. While avoiding the frequent use of the first person pronouns and reference, the poems manage to speak with personal and lyrical voice.

"These poems are phenomenally beautiful and mysterious," Lan Hua explains. Even the title of the collection - Gan Yu - conveys the subtle beauty of the poems. Feelings and ideas encountered along life's way would be a cumbersome attempt to render the title in English. "But I would prefer to retain the original Chinese name as the title," Lan Hua explains, "in order to better convey the poetic sensibility for English readers."

Click here to read Lan Hua's tranlsation of the Gan Yu - I.