PROFESSOR Jonathan Chaves

Professor of Chinese
Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures
MA and PhD, Columbia University

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Recent publication

Cloud Gate Song
The Verse of Tang Poet Zhang Ji
translated by Jonathan Chaves

In this first published translation in a Western language of the verse of major Tang poet Zhang Ji (c. 766–c. 830), 300 poems demonstrate the remarkable range of the poet’s stylistic choices: from atmospheric landscape quatrains, evoking vast scenes with just a few brilliantly chosen words, to folk-style “Music Bureau” poems conjuring up the impact on ordinary people of great historical events, such as the Tibetan invasions of China that took place during Zhang's lifetime. Particularly unusual is that, for the first time, the works of a major Chinese poet are rendered in rhymed, or half-rhymed translations, tracking the original rhyme-schemes that play such an important role in Chinese poetics.




Previous publications

Old Taoist: The Life, Art, and Poetry of Kodojin (1865-1944)
by Stephen Addiss, Translations and commentary by Jonathan Chaves, with an essay by J. Thomas Rimer

Old Taoist In the literary and artistic milieu of early modern Japan the Chinese and Japanese arts flourished side by side. Kodojin, the "Old Taoist" (1865-1944), was the last of these great poet-painters in Japan. Under the support of various patrons, he composed a number of Taoist-influenced Chinese and Japanese poems and did lively and delightful ink paintings, continuing the tradition of the poet-sage who devotes himself to study of the ancients, lives quietly and modestly, and creates art primarily for himself and his friends.

Portraying this last representative of a tradition of gentle and refined artistry in the midst of a society that valued economic growth and national achievement above all, this beautifully illustrated book brings together 150 of Kodojin's Chinese poems (introduced and translated by Jonathan Chaves), more than 100 of his haiku and tanka (introduced and translated by Stephen Addiss), and many examples of his calligraphy and ink paintings. Addiss's in-depth introduction details the importance of the poet-painter tradition, outlines the life of Kodojin, and offers a critical appraisal of his work, while J. Thomas Rimer's essay puts the literary work of the Old Taoist in context.

Japanese and Chinese Poems to Sing: The Wakan roei shu
by Jonathan Chaves with J. Thomas Rimer, editors

Wakan Roeishu Among the diversions enjoyed by the courtiers of Heian Japan (794-1185) was singing poetry to musical accompaniment. The most popular source of poetic passages was the bilingual poetic anthology, known as the Wakan roei shu (or Collection of Japanese and Chinese Poems to Sing). Compiled by the early eleventh-century poet Fujiwara Kinto, it contains Chinese poems by great Chinese poets, Chinese poems by Japanese courtiers (kanshi), and Japanese poems (waka). In combining the three types of poetry Kinto wished to couple the most revered Chinese works with native poetry that evoked the Chinese masters and equaled their elegance.

This first translation of the Wakan roei shu includes two introductory essays, insightful commentaries on each passage, and three expositions, which discuss the Wakan roei shu's influence on Japanese literary history, music, and calligraphy. It will delight all lovers of Asian poetry and art.

updated 2006.11.19
originally created by iLhAnaMi