Ocean of Poetry is made possible  by all the wonderful resources we have been able to draw upon. Hopefully we have listed most here.

Most of the translations on Ocean of Poetry are copyrighted by the respective translators. We have requested and received permission (and blessings) from most of our translators. We believe that our use of excerpts from translators and authors we have been unable to contact yet constitutes “fair use,” as their use is for educational and not commercial purpose. We offer these here to give you, the reader, an opportunity to  experience the broadest range of translations and to find those translators whose works you will wish to own. If you are an author whose work we have used without permission and you prefer that work not appear here, please contact us and we will of course remove it.

[Purchase these wonderful books here through and help support Ocean of Poetry]


Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping, The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry (Anchor, 2005)

Zong-qi Cai, How to Read Chinese Poetry: A Guided Anthology (Columbia University Press, 2007)

Jonathan Chaves, The Columbia Book of Later Chinese Poetry (Columbia University Press, 1986)

Francois Cheng, Chinese Poetic Writing: With an Anthology of T’ang Poetry (Indiana University Press, 1982) oop

Sam Hamill, Crossing the Yellow River : Three Hundred Poems from the Chinese (BOA Editions, 2000)

David Hinton, Classical Chinese Poetry: An Anthology (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010)

David Hinton, Mountain Home: The Wilderness Poetry of Ancient China, (New Directions, 2005)

Wu-Chi Liu and Irving Yucheng Lo, Sunflower Splendor (Indiana University Press, 1990)

Mike O’Connor (ed.), The Clouds Should Know Me By Now: Buddhist Poet Monks of China (Wisdom Publications, 1998)

Red Pine, Poems of the Masters: China’s Classic Anthology of T’ang and Sung Dynasty Verse  (Copper Canyon Press, 2003)

Kenneth Rexroth,  One Hundred Poems from the Chinese (New Directions, 1971)

J.P. Seaton, A Drifting Boat: Chinese Zen Poetry (White Pine Press, 1995)

J.P. Seaton and Sam Harris, The Poetry of Zen (Shambhala Publications, 2012)

J.P. Seaton, The Shambhala Anthology of Chinese Poetry (Shambhala, 2006)

J.P. Seaton, The Wine of Endless Life: Taoist Drinking Songs from the Yuan Dynasty (White Pine Press, 1995)

Geoffrey Waters, Michael Farman, David Lunde and J.P. Seaton, 300 Tang Poems (White Pine Press, 2011)

Burton Watson, The Columbia Book of Chinese Poetry (Columbia University Press, 1984)

Eliot Weinberger (ed.), The New Directions Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry (New Directions, 2003)

Wai-lim Yip, Chinese Poetry, 2nd ed., Revised: An Anthology of Major Modes and Genres (Duke University Press Books, 2004)

Monographs (by poet)

Chuang Tzu

The Essential Chuang Tzu, Sam Hamill and J.P. Seaton (Shambhala, 1999)

Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings, Burton Watson (Columbia University Press, 1996)

Han Shan

Cold Mountain Poems: Zen Poems of Han Shan, Shih Te, and Wang Fan-chih, J.P. Seaton (Shambhala Publications, 2011)

Cold Mountain: 100 Poems by the T’ang poet Han-Shan, Burton Watson (Columbia University Press, 1999)

The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain, Red Pine (Copper Canyon Press, 2000)

Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu : Tao Te Ching : A Book About the Way and the Power of the Way, Ursala LeGuin (J.P. Seaton) (Shambhala, 1998)

Tao Te Ching, Burton Watson (Shambhala, 2007)

Li Po

Bright Moon, Perching Birds, James Cryer and J.P. Seaton (Wesleyan University Press, 1987)

The Selected Poems of Li Po, David Hinton (New Directions, 1996)

Lu Chi
The Art of Writing: Teachings of the Chinese Master, Tony Barnstone (Shambhala, 1996)

The Art of Writing: Lu Chi’s Wen Fu, Sam Hamill (Milkweed Editions, 2000)

Lu Yu

The Old Man Who Does As He Pleases, Burton Watson (Columbia Universoty Press, 1994)

Meng Chiao

The Late Poems of Meng Chiao, David Hinton (Princeton University Press, 1996)

Meng Hao-jan

The Mountain Poems of Meng Hao-jan. David Hinton (Archipelago Books, 2004)

Ou-yang Hsiu

Love and Time, J.P. Seaton (Copper Canyon Press, 1989)

Po Chu-i

Po Chü-i: Selected Poems, Burton Watson (Columbia University Press, 2000)

The Selected Poems of Po Chü-i, David Hinton (New Directions. 1999)

Su Tung-P’o

Selected Poems of Su Tung-P’o, Burton Watson (Copper Canyon Press, 1993)

T’ao Ch’ien

The Selected Poems of T’ao Ch’ien, David Hinton (Copper Canyon Press, 2000)

Tu Fu

Bright Moon, Perching Birds, J.P. Seaton and James Cryer (Wesleyan University Press, 1987)

The Selected Poems of Tu Fu, David Hinton (New Directions, 1989)

Selected Poems of Du Fu, Burton Watson (Columbia University Press, 2003)

Wang Wei

Laughing Lost in the Mountains: Poems of Wang Wei, Tony Barnstone, Willis Barnstone, Xu Haixin (University Press of New England, 1992)

Hiding the Universe. Wai-lim Yip (Grossman Publishers, 1972)

The Selected Poems of Wang Wei, David Hinton (New Directions, 2006)

Yang-Wan Li

Heaven My Blanket, Earth My Pillow: Poems from Sung Dynasty China by Yang Wan-Li, Jonathan Chaves (White Pine Press, 2004)

Yuan Mei

I Don’t Bow to Buddhas: Selected Poems of Yuan Mei, J.P. Seaton (Copper Canyon Press, 1996)

The Shih Ching , usually translated as either The Book of Songs or the Classic of Poetry, is the first great collection of Chinese poetry. Tradition says that it was edited into its present form by the Sage of Sages, Confucius himself. In fact the book was assembled before, during, and after the life of Confucius. Its more than three hundred poems include fragments of works as old as the Shang Dynasty (traditional; dates 1766-1154 BCE) as well as “contemporary” poems from the Chou feudal states written or spoken by both aristocratic court figures and just plain “folks”. A great deal has been said about the origin of many, if not the majority of the poems as oral “folk” art, but it is clear from the artistry of the written language in which they have been handed down that, like the scribes who improved upon the originally oral poetry attributed to “Homer” in the West to create the Iliad and the Odyssey, the people who converted Chou folk songs and court verses into poetry in written Chinese characters clearly thought of themselves as (and were) artists. So the characters used to render simple and direct lyrical utterances of the illiterate peasant folk often honor them with carefully chosen written vocabulary: the heart and soul of folk art remains clearly present, but literary subtleties are introduced. The scribes who created the Shih Ching were poets, not tape recorders. They chose the best of what existed, and they honored it with their own art.

In its present form, the Shih Ching consists of three major sections, the Kuo Feng, or Odes of the States, comprising 160 of the 300 are generally but not always folk songs. The Ya (Elegant Verses) subdivided with no obvious criteria into greater and lesser, include poems 161-265, and the Sung or Temple Odes high ritual songs and bits of dynastic myth, include poems 266-305. The present selection is comes, all but a single longer poem on drinking and its positive and negative consequences from the “Lesser Elegants”, all come from the Kuo Feng Sections.

Knowledge of the Shih Ching poems was a necessity of diplomatic practice around the time of Confucius, when it was a common practice to deliver or at least support the delivery of diplomatic messages among the feudal domains (the “States or Guo of the Guo Feng) by oral presentation of relevant lines from the Classic. From the Han on many of the poems where imbued with very specific allegorical interpretations, but it is clear that later poets, who memorized the book word for word, used it as allusive material in their own poems at least as often for its plain “folk” messages as for its orthodoxly approved allegorical ones.