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Ancient Chinese poetry

Old Poems, New Forms


Old Poems, New Forms

During some Spring Cleaning at the Press a few weeks ago, I rediscovered a sweet small project that had somehow gotten buried by other works-in-progress. 

“Overnight on Abiding-Integrity River”

an unfolding poem

Ancient Chinese poetry has long been an enjoyment of mine, particularly poems translated by David Hinton. And a favorite author that Hinton translates beautifully is the early T’ang Dynasty poet Meng Hao-jan (689-740 C.E.).

One of Meng’s crystalline four-line poems struck me as a lovely candidate for a miniature book. At 2-inches square and a half-inch thick, this unfolding journey is small in size but large in scope. Meng’s linked, sensory lines seemed to naturally suit themselves to a linked, tactile format.

I set the poem in metal type, printed it on my trusty foot-treadled Golding press, and cut-and-assembled the paper pieces by hand to form the book. It’s a very limited edition — just 21 books. $15 each.

If you'd like a little ancient new book of poetry, click here.

Many thanks,

St Brigid Press