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About this poet

Wang Wei was a Chinese poet who lived in the eighth century (701–761 C.E.) during the Tang dynasty. Wei, along with his contemporaries Li Po and Tu Fu, is considered one of the greatest poets in China’s literary history. A painter as well as a poet, in both his artwork and verse, Wei was known for his interest in and attention to landscapes. His poems are known for their conciseness and imagistic clarity that focus on the slightest details in nature.

Farewell to Yang, Who's Leaving for Kuo-chou

Those canyons are too narrow to travel.
How will you make your way there, when

it's a mere bird-path—a thousand miles
and gibbons howling all day and night?

We offer travel-spirits wine, then you're
gone: Nü-lang Shrine, mountain forests

and beyond. But we still share a radiant
moon. And do you hear a nightjar there?

"Farewell to Yang, Who's Leaving for Kuo-chou" by Wang Wei, from The Selected Poems of Wang Wei, translated by David Hinton, copyright © 2006 by David Hinton. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

"Farewell to Yang, Who's Leaving for Kuo-chou" by Wang Wei, from The Selected Poems of Wang Wei, translated by David Hinton, copyright © 2006 by David Hinton. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

Wang Wei

Wang Wei was a Chinese poet who lived in the eighth century (701–761 C.E.) during the Tang dynasty. Wei, along with his contemporaries Li Po and Tu Fu, is considered one of the greatest poets in China’s literary history.