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Broad Sea and Empty Sky

Broad Sea and Empty Sky

China's First Great Modern Poet, Xu Zhimo

By (author) Dorothy Trench Bonett


  • Most extensive presentation available in English of China's first great modern poet, who remains hugely popular today
  • The monument and memorial garden dedicated to this poet at Cambridge University are visited by millions of Chinese annually
  • Presents the largest selection of Xu's poems available in English, as well as some of his prose works
  • Shortlisted for the 2022 Lucien Stryk Prize for best translation from an Asian language
Full Description

Xu Zhimo (1897-1931) was China’s first great modern poet and a major figure of the intellectual revolution that shaped modern China. Educated in China (Peking University), America (Columbia and Clark), and England (Cambridge, where there is a monument in his honor), he was in contact with every major Chinese literary figure of his day, and met and was influenced by Rabindranath Tagore, Thomas Hardy, Katherine Mansfield, and Bertrand Russell, among others. Xu incorporated elements of the English poetic tradition and that of East India with native Chinese traditions to create a body of work that spoke to his contemporaries at a critical time in their history, and still speaks today. This book presents the largest selection of Xu’s poems available in English, as well as some of his prose works. Essays by translator Dorothy Bonett put the poet into context for English-speaking readers and reveals links between his works and other modern poetry, both Chinese and non-Chinese.

Contents: Acknowledgments; Introduction; The Earliest Poem; Vignettes (Brush Sketches); The Ancient Tribe of Hua; Love; A Night in Florence; Grief; Clouds in Your Western Sky; Broad Sea and Empty Sky; Singers and Heroes; Talks and Prose Writing; Xu as Translator; Chronology; Annotated Bibliography.

About the Author
Dorothy Trench Bonett is a poet and translator. She has published essays on Joseph Conrad and Alexander Pushkin, and previously translated Alexandre Dumas père (Noble Press, 1991). She has received Honorable Mention for the Der Hovanessian Prize for poetry translation, and has also won a prize for her original poetry. She studied Chinese at Yale, and has taught Chinese at Hood College and Mount St. Mary's University. Her translations of Xu Zhimo's poetry have appeared in Delos and other magazines.
Floating World Editions
1st Feb 2021
Paperback / softback
USA & Canada
9 in x 6 in
214 Pages
12 b&w
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