Reading about ancient Chinese poetry led me into a way of seeing things that I hadn't been aware of beforeby Michael Rosen / May 9, 2019 / Leave a comment
Poems by Li Po
Some years ago I used to present a poetry request radio programme on BBC World Service called “Poems by Post.” One request came in for a poem by the Chinese poet Li Po. In tracking down the poem in the Penguin Classic edition of his work, reading about ancient Chinese poetry and following up on its many translators (like Arthur Waley) led me into a way of seeing things that I hadn’t been aware of before. I don’t think I had fully recognised that it was this kind of poetry which provided one of the sources for the flowering of modernist imagist poetry in the early years of the 20th century. When you read a few of the poems one after the other, you find you’re in a world that expresses itself very differently from the voice of, say, the Romantic poets.
Michael Rosen in conversation with Peter Florence on Friday 24th May, 5.30PM, Hay Festival Foundation Stage
Read more writers on the books that changed their lives