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Cathay (1915)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  246 ratings  ·  31 reviews
This scarce antiquarian book is a selection from Kessinger Publishing's Legacy Reprint Series. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment to protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature. Kessinger ...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 10th 2010 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1915)
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Bill Kerwin
Sep 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Who would have guessed that one of the transformative books of modern English poetry would be a slim volume consisting of fourteen poems from ancient China, translated by a man with little knowledge of the Chinese language, who relied upon the disorganized notes of a deceased professor who specialized in Japanese?

Yet such is Cathay (1915). This small work of genius is one reason—among many—that T.S. Eliot declared Ezra Pound to be “more responsible for the twentieth-century revolution in poetry
Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
Ezra Pound cheated.

At the turning of the twentieth century everything had been done in literature or, at least, it seemed that way at the time. The writers that emerged in the early decades had to find a way to assert their own identities; they had to find a way to cast aside the shackles of established Victorian literary traditions and create something of their own.

So how exactly do writers “make it new” as Pound famously said? James Joyce and Virginia Woolf did all sorts of creative things

Ezra Pound (1913)

Ezra Pound (1885 – 1972) had his fingers in many pies, some of which were hot enough to burn him badly. One of these pies was the translation of poetry into English. Over his lifetime he published translations from at least 10 different languages, though of some of these, like Chinese, he had only a very weak grasp. However, he did have the papers of the great cultural explorer Ernest Fenollosa (1853–1908) which included more or less literal translations of poems by the great
Reinventing the wheel!
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I believe the last time I read some of Ezra Pounds' poetry was when I was majoring in English. It was a long time ago.

Ezra Pound was an innovator in modern poetry and a very controversial figure in the arts and also politically.

Cathay is the English version of the name Catai, which is another name for China. The poems in Cathay are translations, some say interpretations and others claim actual but imperfect translations of poems by the ancient Chinese poet Li Bai/Li Bo (701–762). In the
Maru Kun
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This webpage has about half a dozen other translations of "The River Merchant's Wife - A Letter" including one made in 1976 by Wai-Lim Yip who made a study of Pound's work: Ezra Pound's Cathay.

If anything, comparing these other translations with Pound's is proof of Ezra Pound's talent!

If you are coming down through the narrows of the river Kiang,
Please let me know beforehand,
And I will come out to meet you
As far as Chō-fu-Sa.
ilknur a.k.a. iko ◬

merhaba abilerim ablalarım gene büyük konuşmaya geldim, ama Pound hakkında değil; ülkü'cüm tamer hakkında.

Kapaktan başlayalım. Çin'in dağlarını, tepelerini, rüzgarını, sisini, ırmağını, dalgasını işte bu minimalist çizgilerle; tek bir seferde ifade edebilirsiniz. Kapağa bir arkadaş şahane dedi; ona sormadım neden öyle düşünüyor ama ben ilk tepki olarak bir imgeci için minimalist tercih etmek, demiştim. Sonra, bir dönüp bakınca; şahane!

Şiirler; çok eski Çin şiirlerinin Rihanku çincesinden,
This collection is widely known as one of the few successful instances of the translated poetry:

The Jewel Stairs' Grievance (Li Po)

The jewelled steps are already quite white with dew,
It is so late that the dew soaks my gauze stockings,
And I let down the crystal curtain
And watch the moon through the clear autumn.

Apr 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, poetry, jaguar
1- Ezra Pound için alınmalı...
2- Ülkü Tamer'in duru çevirisi için okunmalı...
3- Kapak tasarımına dönüp dönüp bakılmalı...
Hemen okunmalı, tekrar dönülmeli, orijinal dili ile karşılıklı tekrar okunmalı...
Jaguar kitap güzel edebiyat ürünleri vermeye devam ediyor...
Matthew Travers
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
‘A Vivid Waiting’

Is the phrase Ezra Pound employed to describe a story from James Joyce’s ‘Dubliners’ (1914) which he thought ‘something better than a story’ (Berryman, J. 1949) and an apt way to describe the experience of reading Pound’s ‘Cathay’ (1915). Something better than a translation, ‘Cathay’ gives us pause to reflect on what constitutes poetry’s general appeal. How is it that Pound, universally recognised as a great poet, often proves so difficult to read? Even in ‘Cathay’, where
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
üzerine çok şey söylemek isterdim aslında ama pound'un da dediği gibi " sunuşa katkisi olmayan tek bir sözcüğün bile kullanılmaması" meseledir şiirde ya da hayatta. -nacizane- şiir sanatının özünün ve tek çıkar yolunun içinde barındırdığı naiflik ve sadelikte olduğunu, onu diğer türlerden ayıran sansasyonel yanının da olabildiğine az estetize edilmemiş dolaylamasız dilde aramak gerekliliğini bir kez daha kavradım, isadan önce yazılmış bu şiirlerde. müthiş.
Jacob Hurley
A nice selection of "oriental poems". It's really just Pound with the aid of esoteric strings of nouns he got from some scholar in the mail, but it serves his Vorticist purpose well (if i correctly understand vorticism from the little the intro told me)
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
five stars but for the forward by mary de rachewiltz, which had more to do with glorifying her father than with examining his translations.
Luís C.
Lisbon Book-Fair 2016.
Wade Duvall
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, chinese-lit
I loved this little book. First I'll discuss briefly what's included and then why I loved it. It contains a handful of Chinese poems (mostly from Li Bai, which Pound et. al. attribute as Rihaku, which comes from Japanese scholars) and the Anglo-Saxon poem The Seafarer. Pound didn't speak Chinese at the time, so the translations are based on the notes of Ernest Fenollosa. I believe he worked with Japanese scholars on the translation so many of the Chinese proper names sound Japanese (according to ...more
Ezra Peace
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Even if you're not particularly into poetry generally (I'm not), there are still particular poets, such as T S Eliot, Dante Alighieri, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson.. and Ezra Pound who are so talented that they transcend the medium. Without these poets, you don't have the likes of Q-Tip or Mos Def or Drake. Cathay is uniquely interesting because it is a collection of ancient Chinese poems (mostly by the poet Rihaku) loosely translated by Ezra Pound, and regarded as an innovation in ...more
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Pound's translations, or rather adaptations, are excellent, and I actually like them better than his original poems. In this short book you'll find 13 Chinese poems (hence the title) and 'The Seafarer', which is also published in 'Ripostes of Ezra Pound'.
The jewel, for me, is 'The Seafarer', as I love Old English poetry, but I had already read Pound's version, and I picked this book because I wanted to get acquainted with the poems of Rihaku (Li Po). They are interesting to read, the quality of
Feb 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Poem by The Bridge at Ten-Shin

Petals are on the gone waters and on the going,
And on the back-swirling eddies,
But today's men are not the men of the old days,
Though they hang in the same way over the bridge-rail
Matt Morris
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Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry-20th
I love the small amount of Chinese literature I’ve read, so I’m not surprised I enjoyed these poems as translated? by Pound.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
İmgelemeler güzel ama Çin hakkında çok fikrim olmadığı için kendimi şiirlerin içinde bulamadım. Yine de bazı şiirlerdeki bazı dizeler kendini bir kaç defa okutturuyor. Umduğumu bulamadım.
Tom Baikin-O'hayon
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is not a book of Chinese poetry. This is A book of pounds great early modernist poetry, inspired by the Chinese classics
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ezra Pound'a çevirilerinden başlamış olmakla beraber bunun güzel bir deneyim olduğu kesin.Özellikle "the river-merchant's wife: a letter" şiiri..Uzakdoğu (ki kitapta Çin'den örnekler görüyoruz) şiirinin süsten uzaklığı seçilmiş şiirler tarafından da gösteriliyor.
Ülkü Tamer'in çevirisi ve İngilizce-Türkçe metinlerin birarada verilmesi de ayrı bir güzellik..
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
incelikli anlatımı için okunabilir...
Frederick Gault
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
Very poor translation of classical Chinese poems by a guy who didn't speak or read Chinese. Riddled with errors.
Alexander Kosoris
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, poetry
Cathay is a collection of old poems––mainly Chinese works from the 8th century – translated by Pound, but it’s a bit more complicated and interesting than that. Pound, who at that time knew little to no Chinese, worked from the notes of the Harvard educated scholar, Ernest Fenollosa, a transcript of which is included in the printing I read. While Pound seemingly maintained a great deal of the spirit of the original poems, changes came due to errors within the notes, from Pound’s ...more
Epicure of Literature
This is translation of Li Po's poems by Ezra Pound who does not really master Chinese. He translated the poems solely based on Fennolosa's notes. At first, I don't believe that translator who doesn't meet the basic requirement of translation can produced such a fine translation, but...sigh...after you read the translation...*speechless... I even prefer his translation than the faithful version of Waley's. Pound has proved his poetic genius through this work.
Cooper Renner
Interesting inclusion of the notes from which Pound originally worked. The Pound versions of the poems themselves constitute a fairly small part of the whole. A number of them are quite lovely, others less so. "The Seafarer," the one non-Chinese poem, is fir me simply irritating.
David Harrison Horton
rated it really liked it
Feb 27, 2016
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Ezra Weston Loomis Pound was an American expatriate poet, critic and intellectual who was a major figure of the Modernist movement in early-to-mid 20th century poetry.

Pound's The Cantos contains music and bears a title that could be translated as The Songs—although it never is. Pound's ear was tuned to the motz et sons of troubadour poetry where, as musicologist John Stevens has noted, "melody and
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“And if you ask how I regret that parting: It is like the flowers falling at Spring’s end Confused, whirled in a tangle. What is the use of talking, and there is no end of talking, There is no end of things in the heart. I” 5 likes
“And if you ask how I regret that parting?
It is like the flowers falling at spring’s end,
confused, whirled in a tangle.
What is the use of talking! And there is no end of talking—
There is no end of things in the heart.”
More quotes…