The Life of Tu Fu (Paperback)

The Life of Tu Fu By Eliot Weinberger Cover Image

The Life of Tu Fu (Paperback)

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A book-length poem by “our best living literary essayist” (Forrest Gander).


For over fifty years Eliot Weinberger has been celebrated for his innovative literary and political essays—translated into over thirty languages—as well as his trailblazing translations from the Spanish. In his exquisite new book The Life of Tu Fu, Weinberger has composed a montage of fifty-eight poems that capture the life and times of the great Tang Dynasty poet Tu Fu (712–770 AD). As he writes in a note to the edition, “This is not a translation of individual poems, but a fictional autobiography of Tu Fu derived and adapted from the thoughts, images, and allusions in the poetry.” Through lines as penetrating as a classical tanka and as fluid as a mountain stream, themes of endless war and ongoing pandemic surround the wandering life of the ancient Chinese master.
Eliot Weinberger’s books of literary essays include Karmic Traces, An Elemental Thing, The Ghosts of Birds, and Angels & Saints. His political writings are collected in What I Heard About Iraq and What Happened Here: Bush Chronicles. The author of a study of Chinese poetry translation, 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei, he is a translator of the poetry of Bei Dao and the editor of The New Directions Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry. He was formerly the general editor of the series Calligrams: Writings from and on China and the literary editor of the Murty Classical Library of India. Among his many translations of Latin American poetry and prose are The Poems of Octavio Paz, Paz’s In Light of India, Vicente Huidobro’s Altazor, Xavier Villaurrutia’s Nostalgia for Death, and Jorge Luis Borges’ Seven Nights and Selected Non-Fictions. He has been publishing with New Directions since 1975.
Product Details ISBN: 9780811238052
ISBN-10: 0811238059
Publisher: New Directions
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2024
Pages: 64
Language: English
My favorite essayist is Eliot Weinberger. His remarkable breadth of calm concern is impressive.
— Gary Snyder - The New York Times Book Review

Combining scholarly authority with a moral allegiance to the arcane, the translator and editor Weinberger creates genre-bending essays and prose poems to help us see the world anew.
— Daphne Kalotay - The New York Times

His essays use lists, collages of information, and sometimes, as poetry does, varying line breaks. They don’t read like anyone else’s work.
— Christopher Byrd - The New Yorker

Weinberger’s verse achieves not only the linearity of narrative but also a leveling effect—putting a fish on par with the moon…Tu Fu pursued a poetry illuminating at once the nonhierarchical, embodied chaos of the real as well as the interplay of absence and presence that defines the Tao.
— Brian Patrick Eha - Poetry Foundation