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Analysis and comments on The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter by Ezra Pound

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Comment 9 of 329, added on October 16th, 2005 at 6:12 PM.

I am a schoar and translator of classical Chinese, so let me comment
briefly. Pound knew no Chinese. He worked from notes left by Ernest
Fenollosa, who also knew no Chinese, but did know some Japanese.
Fenollosa's notes were based on Japanese versions of the original Chinese
poem. Pound's translation is not always accurate, but is so beautiful for
its time, that it lives almost as an independent poem by Pound.

Geoff from United States
Comment 8 of 329, added on August 2nd, 2005 at 5:13 PM.

Last year in literature class, we read this poem in this translation and
another translation. They were both very different, but I guess that it
because it is so hard to translate from Chinese. Both translations had many
dissimilarities, but they both portrayed the same meaning.

This was one of my favorite poems that I have read in school. It is so rich
in emotion.

Mary Anne from United States
Comment 7 of 329, added on July 27th, 2005 at 9:45 PM.

It does say on the poem that this is a translation. However, does anyone
know for sure how accurate the translation is? When I researched Pound I
found that he was fascinated by chinese and endeavored to learn it, but I
don't know if he ever mastered it...and I have read some chinese literature
that seriously criticizes the way he handled those poems. I do know that he
made a lot of mistakes, and that he would create his own words if he didn't
understand what was written...so a lot of his translations are actually
kind of hybrids between his work and the work of the original poet. As far
as I understand, that is.

laurel from United States
Comment 6 of 329, added on May 31st, 2005 at 1:19 AM.

shouldn't you be doing your poems instead of typing up that description
found in the American Literature text book, ms. chou?

Jon from United States
Comment 5 of 329, added on May 30th, 2005 at 1:20 PM.

Yes, this poem really is based on a poem by Li T'ai Po, one of China's
greatest poets. His literary name was Li Po. If you look this poem up in
actual high school text books, it says "based on a poem by Li T'ai Po" on
top of the poem and gives you a summary of this Chinese author. Ezra Pound
simply translated the poem.

Cathy from United States
Comment 4 of 329, added on May 24th, 2005 at 12:13 PM.

Does everyone relized this is not an original poem but a translation of Li
Po's from the Tang Dynasty??? It's a DIRECT translation... I even found the
poem in Chinese!!!!!

Lulu from United States
Comment 3 of 329, added on January 30th, 2005 at 12:48 PM.

most of them are not trusted

halima from Tanzania
Comment 2 of 329, added on January 9th, 2005 at 9:57 AM.

It's surely not enough for Aya to quote the single line, 'They hurt me: I
grow older'.
What hurts is the sight of the butterflies - paired butterflies - seen by
this lonely girl. They have grown yellow, already ageing in the brief lives
of the creatures, reminders of the autumn-touched leaves, falling early,
too soon reminding of the dieing of the year. In her loneliness, this is
what hurts her and makes her feel the passing of time.
A pity all Pound's work is not so accessible!

Ray Dunn from United Kingdom
Comment 1 of 329, added on November 30th, 2004 at 5:40 PM.

"They hurt me. I grow older."

This one line gets me every time I read it.

Aya from United States

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Information about The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter

Poet: Ezra Pound
Poem: The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter
Added: Feb 21 2003
Viewed: 1108 times


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