July 01 , 2010

A Gold Orchid

The Love Poems of Tzu Yeh


A Gold Orchid is a rare collection of classical Chinese erotic and love poetry translated for the first time.
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Chinese erotic poetry was at one time thought to be nonexistent, simply because it was considered unfit to translate from the imperial anthologies, This translation of poems of Tzu Yeh, a 4th-century wine shop girl, exposes a world the emperors may not have cared to record for posterity. But it is precisely this world that has fascination for the Western reader, who will discover in it, perhaps a shock of recognition, the same currents of feeling that rippled beneath alluring surfaces wherever girls like Tzu Yeh have offered entertainment and flattery, beauty, wit, and sometimes love-to paying customers.

Following Tzu Yeh through the pleasure-chasing seasons into her years of bitter memories, the reader places together, but he left her "with a bitter heart still beating to each day’s sun." She weaves. She remembers. "In thin silk dress, red sleeves a flutter" she searches for "a bold someone with a heart of mine" – her gold-orchid friend.

These beautiful and original poems are made available to Western readers in a translation that fuses the imagery of age-old China with a supple, lively modern idiom.
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