2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 November 2012
I bought this as a present for my husband, as we both wanted to learn about Chinese poetry. It is a beautiful, tactile book to look and hold (although the cover and pages are quite thin so I don't think it's one we'll bring on holiday if we want it to remain lovely).
The content is sensibly set out - poems are arranged by dynasty and then by poet. Each dynasty's section starts with a contextual introduction, and each poet's section starts with a very readable biographical introduction, followed by a selection of poems.
It's good for readers who want an academic introduction to Chinese poetry (there is a long essay on Chinese poetic form at the front) but is equally good for casual readers who just want to read a few lines from time to time. What I most appreciate is the inclusion of juicy bits of history and legend scattered throughout the book in footnotes to the poems and in the prose - I found them fascinating and illuminating. There are only occasional footnotes, and they don't interrupt the flow of the poems.