Du Fu

(712 - 770 / Henan Province / China)

Du Fu
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Du Fu was a prominent Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty. Along with Li Bai (Li Bo), he is frequently called the greatest of the Chinese poets. His greatest ambition was to serve his country as a successful civil servant, but he proved unable to make the necessary accommodations. His life, like the whole country, was devastated by the An Lushan Rebellion of 755, and his last 15 years were a time of almost constant unrest.

Although initially he was little-known to other writers, his works came to be hugely influential in both Chinese and Japanese literary culture. Of his poetic writing, nearly fifteen hundred poems have been preserved over the ages. He has been called the ... more »

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  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (6/11/2016 12:11:00 PM)

    Tu Fu (or Du Fu) is one of the greatest classical Chinese poets, along with Li Po (or Li Bai) . He wrote taoist poetry even if he remained devoutly linked to the more formal morality of Confucianism.

    A poem by Tu Fu: 'A View of Taishan'

    What shall I say of the Great Peak? –
    The ancient dukedoms are everywhere green,
    Inspired and stirred by the breath of creation,
    With the Twin Forces balancing day and night.
    ..I bare my breast toward opening clouds,
    I strain my sight after birds flying home.
    When shall I reach the top and hold
    All mountains in a single glance?

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (11/5/2015 5:36:00 AM)

    to P.H.:
    don't you think that the other page - the one under the name TU FU - should be erase, as the 19 poems there are also listed here?

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (11/5/2015 4:26:00 AM)

    there is another page dedicated to Du FU...
    that page is under the name:
    Tu Fu (712-770 / Gong County / China)

  • Melikhaya Zagagana Melikhaya Zagagana (5/11/2014 4:30:00 AM)

    Mr Jeff Mcguire who do you consider as a skillful translater? do you have names or ways to advice translators without making much of noisy complains. Let us complain constructively.

  • Jeff Mcguire (4/12/2013 1:22:00 PM)

    Oh, and why is there a picture of Li Bai on Du Fu's page? Li Po is a great poet and I respect him, but he doesn't need to invade the identities of other poets! If nothing is done, all poet portraits on this site may be replaced by Li Bai in uncharacteristic greed!

  • Jeff Mcguire (4/12/2013 1:19:00 PM)

    Wong Moli, unfortunately poetry must be translated or it will become lost to a tiny subset of a subset of people who speak the author's Native Tongue. Poetry is always inaccurate in translation; the worst offence that a translator can commit is to translate too accurately. English is not Chinese, so any playful wordings and double meanings will be lost. In order for people like me to Know Tu Fu, I must be introduced to him through a skillful translator who knows the deep secrets of Poetics.

  • Wong Moli (5/22/2010 10:03:00 PM)

    Too terrible, the English translation is too terrible! Du Fu's poems can be only read in chinese.

  • Wong Moli (5/22/2010 10:02:00 PM)

    Too terrible, the English translation is too terrible! Du Fu's poems can be only read in chinese.

  • Wong Moli (5/22/2010 10:01:00 PM)

    Too terrible, the English translation is too terrible! Du Fu's poems can be only read in chinese.

Read all 9 comments »
Best Poem of Du Fu

Full Moon

Above the tower -- a lone, twice-sized moon.
On the cold river passing night-filled homes,
It scatters restless gold across the waves.
On mats, it shines richer than silken gauze.

Empty peaks, silence: among sparse stars,
Not yet flawed, it drifts. Pine and cinnamon
Spreading in my old garden . . . All light,
All ten thousand miles at once in its light!

Read the full of Full Moon

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