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  • Chinese Erotic Poems
  • Edited by Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping
  • Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780307265678
  • Our Price: $14.95
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Chinese Erotic Poems

Edited by Tony BarnstoneAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Tony Barnstone and Chou PingAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Chou Ping

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Synopsis|Table of Contents


The ancient Chinese tradition of erotic poetry has been largely ignored in the west. Now, a vast continent of sensual verse is opened to us with this glorious collection spanning nearly three thousand years and including many poems never before translated into English.

Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping have brought together poems about deep love and pure lust, enticement and seduction, ecstasy and disappointment. Here are poems that express need, hunger, grief, and longing—for husbands and wives and for concubines and lovers; poems by turns explicit or subtle, light-hearted or desperate, written from both men’s and women’s points of view. The editors have drawn on a wide range of sources from 600 BCE to the present, including highly literary poems, popular verse, and folk songs, as well as poems that appeared in ancient Daoist sex manuals, in classical novels of the Ming Dynasty, and in collections of erotic prints. The result is a dazzling array of voices that speak the universal language of desire.

For the first time, all the major works of this beloved writer are gathered together in one hardcover volume.

Table of Contents


The Book of Songs (c. 600 BCE)
In the Wilds is a Dead River-Deer
Portrait of a Bride
The Riverbank
Grasshoppers and Baby Locusts
Zhen and Wei Rivers
Stripping Off Clothes
White Moonrise
There are Tall Weeds in the Fields
Fruit Plummets from the Plum Tree
I Beg You, Zhongzi

Sima Xiangru (179–117 BCE)
The Prose-Poem of the Beautiful Person

Zhang Heng (78–139 CE)
From T’ung-sheng-ko

From Nineteen Ancient Poems (Han Dynasty)

Zi Ye (3rd–4th Centuries CE)
From 42 Songs: The Cheating Lover
From 42 Songs: Night is Forever
From 42 Songs: Her Shyness
From 42 Songs: The Untied Skirt
From 42 Songs: Undressing
From 42 Songs: Street Encounter
From 42 Songs: Tangled Hair
From 20 Spring Songs: Spring Wind
From 20 Summer Songs: Lotus Flower Girl
From 20 Summer Songs: After Lovemaking
From 20 Summer Songs: Flaming Love
From 20 Summer Songs: Melons and Plum
From 20 Summer Songs: Sleeping with One Pillow
From 18 Autumn Songs: The Lovers
From 17 Winter Songs: Lust for the Summer Lover
Late Autumn
Sleeves Lifted
A Charcoal Stove
Two Love Songs

Anonymous (Six Dynasties)
My Lover Will Soon be Here
This Morning Our Boat Left

Shen Yue (441–513)
From Six Reminiscences
To a Friend I Met Early One Morning While She Was in Her Carriage
For My Neighbor Who Was Waiting for Someone Who Didn’t Come

Emperor Wu of Liang (464–549)
The Morning Sun Shines

Emperor Jianwen of Liang (503–551)
A Beautiful Woman

Emperor Hou Zhu of Chen (553–604)
A Jade Tree Blossoms in the Back Garden

Zhang Wencheng (c. 657–730)
From The Dwelling of Playful Goddesses
—A Poem About His Knife
—A Poem About Her Sheath
—A Poem About a Broken Copper Flat-Iron
—A Poem About Writing Brushes and Inkstones 57
—Her Poem About a Bow
—His Reply About the Bow

Zhao Luanluan (8th Century)
Cloudlike Hair
Slender Fingers
Creamy Breasts
The Sandalwood Mouth

Xie Wen (Tang Dynasty)
To Lady Zheng

Wang Wei (701–761)
A Young Lady’s Spring Thoughts
For Someone Far Away

Li Bai (701–762)
Sent Far Off
Singing by Green Water in Autumn
An Encounter in the Field

Si Kongshu (740–790?)
I Fall Ill and Have to Marry Off My Singing Girl

Meng Jiao (751–814)
Departure in Ancient Times

Xue Tao (768–831)
Spring Gazing

Bai Juyi (772–846)
From Song of Everlasting Sorrow
Song of Collecting Lotus Seeds

Bai Xingjian (776–826)
The Wedding Night (from the “Rhyme-Prose on the Supreme Joy of Sexual Union of Yin and Yang, Heaven and Earth”)

Yuan Zhen (779–831)
The Poem of Xuizhen
Late Autumn
White Dress
Reminiscences (5 Poems)
Missing Her After Separation (Poem Two)
Spring Dawn

Han Shan (c. Late 8th–Early 9th Centuries)
Behind Pearl Curtains
Full of Girls
Woman in Her Prime
A Flock of Beauties

Du Mu (803–852)
Given in Parting (Two Poems)
Sharing My Feelings

Xue Feng (c. 806–876)
In the Palace

Wen Tingyun (812–870)
To the Tune of “Beautiful Barbarian”

Du Qiuniang (Early 9th Century)
The Coat of Gold Brocade

Li Shangyin (813–858)
Secret of the Inner Chamber
From The Jade City Sequence

Han Wo (844–923)
Meeting Her by Accident

Wei Zhuang (c. 836–910)
To the Tune of “Silk-Washing Brook”
To the Tune of “The River City”
To the Tune of “A Lotus Leaf Cup”

Yu Xuanji (c. 843–868)
A Farewell
Selling Ruined Peonies
Playing Polo
Autumn Complaints
Sent to a Neighboring Woman
Letter to a Friend

Ouyang Jiong (896–971)
To the Tune of “Washing Gauze in a Stream”

Li Yu (936–978)
To the Tune of “A Bushel of Pearls”
To the Tune of “Bodhisattva Barbarian”
To the Tune of “Bodhisattva Barbarian”
To the Tune of “Bodhisattva Barbarian”

Anonymous Female Poet (Song Dynasty)
Drunk Man

Sun Daoxuan (Song Dynasty)
To the Tune of “As in a Dream”

Liu Yong (987–1053)
To the Tune of “New Chrysanthemum Flowers”
To the Tune of “Poluomen Song”

Mei Yaochen (1002–1060)
At Night I Hear My Neighbor Singing

Ouyang Xiu (1007–1072)
To the Tune of “Spring in the Tower of Jade”
Painting Eyebrows, to the Tune of “Pouring Out Deep Emotions”
The Sound of Beating Oars Wafts in Among the Flowers
You Cannot Hold It . . .
Green Jade Plum Trees in Spring
When the Moon is in the River of Heaven

Qin Guan (1049–1100)
To the Tune of “Magpie Bridge Immortal”
To a Courtesan

Madam Wei (fl.1050)
To the Tune of “Attached to Her Skirt”

Zhou Bangyan (1056–1121)
To the Tune of “Rambling Young Man”
To the Tune of “Butterflies Adore Flowers”

Zhu Shuzhen (1063–1106)
To the Tune of “Washing Creek Sands”
Spring Joy
Spring Night, to the Tune of “Panning Gold” 124

Li Qingzhao (1084–c.1151)
To the Tune of “Dream Song”
To the Tune of “Intoxicated in the Shade of Flowers”
To the Tune of “The Blossoming Sprig of Plum”
To the Tune of “Spring at Wu Ling”
To the Tune of “Silk Washing Brook”

Yan Rui ( fl.c. 1160)
To the Tune of “Song of Divination”

Wu Wenying (c.1200–c.1260)
To the Tune of “Washing Creek Sands”
To the Tune of “Prelude to Oriole Song”

Guan Hanjing (c.1240–c.1320)
To the Tune of “Half and Half,” Two Poems

Zheng Yunniang
The Song of Shoes (To Zhang Sheng)
To the Tune of “West River Moon” (To Zhang Sheng)

Guan Daosheng (1262–1319)
Love Poem

Anonymous (Yuan Dynasty?)
To the Tune of “Washing Gauze in a Stream”
To the Tune of “Half and Half”

Chen Keming (c.1300–after 1375)
To the Tune of “Half and Half ”

Tang Yin (1470–1523)
From The Happiness of Monks
Inscription for a Portrait

Huang E (1498–1569)
To the Tune of “The Fall of a Little Wild Goose”
To the Tune of “Soaring Clouds”
To the Tune of “Red Embroidered Shoes”
To the Tune of “A Floating Cloud Crosses Enchanted Mountain”
A Farewell to a Southern Melody

Tang Xianzu (1550–1616)
From The Peony Pavilion
—Her Erotic Dream
—Jade Limbs

Xie Zhaozhe (1567–1624)
Spring Complaints

Yuan Hongdao (1568–1610)
At Hengtang Ferry

Anonymous (Ming Dynasty)
From Flower Encampment and Battle Formations
—To the Tune of “Like a Dream”
—To the Tune of “Boating at Night”
—To the Tune of “Watching the Sea Tide”
—To the Tune of “The Forest of Writing Brushes Academy”
—To the Tune of “Magpie on the Branch”
—To the Tune of “Gold Man Holding a Plate for Collecting Dew”
—To the Tune of “Spring in the Phoenix Tower”
—To the Tune of “One Sprig of Plum”
—To the Tune of “Visiting Spring”
—To the Tune of “Unhooking Entangled Rings”
—To the Tune of “Sand Washed by Waves”

Poetry Collected by Feng Menglong (1574–1646)
A Dragging Cotton Skirt
Shooting Star
The Bento Box
The Boat
A Boat Trip
We’e Only Happy About Tonight
A Nun in Her Orchid Chamber Solitude Feels Lust Like a Monster
Steal a Peep
A Good Day
Cursing Dukang
A Gift of Watermelon Seed Kernels
Asking About a Bite Mark
A Drunk Returns
Fire in the Eyes
Conversation Between Heart and Mouth
Idiot Thoughts
Idiot Thoughts
Account Book
Sobbing and Thinking
The Dream
The Dream
Receiving a Letter
Night Struggle
Revealing Words
The Fear
To Keep Him
The Girl
The Girl
Too Many

Ling Mengchu (1580–1644)
Bed Time
Between the Sheets

Wang Wei (c.1600–c.1647)
To the Tune of “Drunk in the Spring Wind”

Retired Scholar “Ailing Crane” of Tung-Hai (c.1606)
Rousing the Dreaming Lover
Awakening from a Spring Slumber

Wu Weiye (1609–1672)
On Meeting an Old Flame, to the Tune of “Immortal by the River”

Anonymous (c.1618)
From The Plum in the Golden Vase
—On Infidelity
—The Six Inch Thing
—The Lotus Thing
—A Night of Many Positions
—To the Tune of “West River Moon”
—To the Tune of “West River Moon”
—To the Tune of “Walking on Grass”
—A Body Like Snow-White Jade
—Water Sex
—The Two-Edged Sword
—Green Jade and Red Rouge
—Butterfly and Flower

Wu Zao (1799–1863)
To the Tune of “Beautiful Lady Yu”

Fan Zengxiang (1846–1931)

Wang Guowei
To the Tune of “Butterfly Loving Flowers”: Visiting My Parents After My Wedding Night

Su Manshu (The Half-Monk) (1884–1918)
From 10 Narrative Poems
To the Zither Player

On a Brothel Wall

Yu Qingzeng (Late 19th Century)
To the Tune of “Intoxicated with Shadows of Flowers”

Liu Dabai (1880–1932)
Kiss by Mail

Xu Zhimo (1895–1931)
You Deserve It

J. S. Ling (1901–?)
A Morning Shower

Mang Ke (1951–)

Zhang Zhen (1961–)
The Cat at My Friend’s House
A Desire

Chen Dongdong
Snow-Covered Sun

Tang Yaping (1962–)
Black Cave
Black Midnight
Black Rock

Cyril Wong (1977–)
I Didn’t Expect to Write About Sex

Biographical Notes
Tony Barnstone|Chou Ping

About Tony Barnstone

Tony Barnstone - Chinese Erotic Poems
Tony Barnstone is Professor of English at Whittier College and the recipient of the Pushcart Prize in Poetry as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council. His books include Sad Jazz: Sonnets; Impure: Poems by Tony Barnstone; The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry; Out of the Howling Storm: The New Chinese Poetry; Laughing Lost in the Mountains: Poems of Wang Wei; The Art of Writing: Teachings of the Chinese Masters; and the textbooks Literatures of Asia, Africa and Latin America, Literatures of Asia, and Literatures of the Middle East.

About Chou Ping

Chou Ping - Chinese Erotic Poems
Chou Ping took his doctorate in Asian literature from Stanford University and his MFA in creative writing from Indiana University and has taught at Reed College, Oberlin College and Washington University, among other places. His books include The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry and The Art of Writing: Teachings of the Chinese Masters. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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