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About to Release: Heart Like Water – Li Qingzhao’s poems with notes, pinyin & appreciation
新书将会发行:《情怀如水李清照》 – 诗词英译及赏析

     As the best female poet in the history of Chinese Literature, Li Qingzhao (1084-1155/65) was born to a most flourishing time of Chinese ancient civilization – the Song dynasty often referred to as “ the Renaissance of the East” The Song is not only highlighted by six of the Eight Greatest Minds, but also by the unprecedented boom in scientific invention and application. The Four Great Inventions of ancient China became very popular in the Song, and eventually spread abroad reshaping the world. This great period saw the birth of genius artists, thinkers, scientists, and political reformers that emerged like the streaming stars in the Milky Way. Daoism, Buddism, and Confucius's thoughts were widely applied for insights into humanhood in relation to nature. Artistic consciousness made a collective intellectual drift from the rich-color royal palace style to commonplace subjects. The poetic form slowly gave way to the metrical but more flexible Ci (new poems written to musical tunes).


    The 11th,12th, and 13th centuries are marked with endless war and turmoil both in the East and the West. Europe saw the Normandy Conquest followed by the ‘sacred war’ by the Crusades. Song’s prosperity attracted invasion from the Jin and the Mongols from the north and the west borders. The Great Wall did work as a hazard against the Mongols who turned their horses towards the Middle East and East Europe, but not for long. After all, the richest land was the Song.


    This collection of Li Qingzhao’s work takes you to the living waters of the Song from the viewpoint of a lady born to a notable family backed by generations of scholars and high officials. Her knowledge of the world was as good as boys from aristocratic families who are admirably schooled in every grace. Her most uncompromising attitude towards the musical standards of Ci Poetry, her unparallel unique subtleness of a lady’s sense and sensibility, her intellectual connection of the past with the present, and her own dramatic life story in a most transforming time of China have explained why she has been standing on the top list untouched for nine centuries. Every Chinese student today can recite some poems or at least some lines of Li Qingzhao, just like every western student knows the Bronte sisters and Emily Dickinson. Yet, only for the first time, her best collection is presented in English here on the website, together with other unique features where the conscious reader is invited to enjoy an artistic game, an adventure into unchartered waters, crossing cultures, crossing the deep river of time into the beautiful garden before the crafted porch of a genius poet’s boudoir ... …

In delight, she composed some lines in rhyme

Filled with her secret longings and yearnings:

“it looks good for a date in the flower garden

when the moon is full and bright this evening.”


Forever Tonight At My Window, published in 1992. Translation by Gordon Osting, Xiaohong Min (Julia Min), and Haipeng Huang. 

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