What's with all the poetry?

So what’s with all the poetry lately? Chinese poetry, even.

Since he’s no longer in China, Brendan has converted Bokane.org into a Chinese poetry translation showcase. Brendan has a lot of courage to tackle such a task, and he repeatedly surprises me with his skill.

Words are Pretty is sporting a cool new look, and John delved into some Chinese poetry over there too, which you might have missed if you’re not a frequent reader because he’s been relatively prolific these past few days.

Meanwhile Roddy leads us to Chinese-poems.com. As Roddy points out, the presentation method is great for the student. Each poem is presented as: (1) Chinese characters (simplified and traditional!), (2) pinyin (with tone marks!), (3) word-for-word translation, and (4) natural English translation.

If you like Chinese poetry, there ya go. If you don’t, then you can breathe a sigh of relief. That’s probably the most you’ll see about poetry on this weblog for the foreseeable future….


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Wow, Chinese-poems.com kicks ass. Personally, I like poetry because it 1) provides cultural insight, and 2) is normally pretty short and not terribly difficult to understand.

  2. It’s a pity that though I am Chinese,I haven’t got so much interested in poetry,no matter the ancient ones or the modern ones .I think it’s quite a nut for me.However, in my opinion,U are so great guys ,even much more better at Chinese culture than me.Show my respect for you all.

  3. Damn! I wish I would have known about chinese-poems.com before I wrote my miserable paper on Tao Qian’s 5th drinking wine poem…

  4. i know haiku is japanese, but do the chinese have anything similar?

  5. Da Xiangchang Says: December 9, 2004 at 9:14 am

    a haiku by
    Da Xiangchang

    Wonders of China
    never cease to amaze me–
    [hot girls]* everywhere!

    • Self-edited. Originally, a two-syllable word that starts with a “p” and ends in a “g.”
  6. I don’t know much about Japanese poetry, but from what I’ve seen, Chinese doesn’t really have anything similar to haiku. Most of the poetry I’ve seen rhymes (at least in Middle or Ancient Chinese), though there are syllable restrictions as in haiku as well. Regulated verse is an example of this.

    A lot famous poetry is either in regulated verse or of Song dynasty lyric form (´Ê – ci2).

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