In traditional Chinese culture, the written word and the true and educated appreciation of the power and beauty of it, was prized with an almost religious reverence. Poetry held a place that was unrivalled by any other single talent, ability, or practical accomplishment as a source of prestige and affluence, and even of political power. In this rich, comprehensive collection of classical Chinese poetry, preeminent translator and scholar of Chinese, J. P. Seaton introduces the reader to the main styles of Chinese poetry and the major poets, from the classic, "Shih Ching" (The Book of Songs), which dates from 1766 BCE, to the twentieth century. Seaton's translations are fresh and vivid, and his commentaries are interesting and accessible. The poets include: Liu Pang; Hsiang Yu; Tu Fu; Ch'ien Ch'I; Wang fan-chih; Han Shan; Chiao Jan; Chiao Tao; Wei Ying-wu; Li Po; Wang Chien; Liu Yu-shi; Ch'u Yuan; Po Chu-yi; Liu Tsung-yuan; Li Ho; Liu Yung; Po P'u; Yuan Mei; Fan Tseng-hsiang; Ku Yen-wu; and many others.
J P Seaton is Professor pf Chinese at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he has served since 1968. He is the translator of numerous books, and his poetry translations have been widely anthologised. He also colaborated with Ursula K Le Guin on her translation of the Taoist classic Tao Te Ching