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Wang Wei (701-761 AD) is often spoken of, with his contemporaries Li Po and Tu Fu, as one of the three greatest poets in China's 3,000-year poetic history.
He was the consummate master of the short imagistic landscape poem that came to typify classical Chinese poetry, with poems of resounding tranquillity whose style and substance can be traced to his practice of Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism.
But in spite of this philosophical depth, Wang is not a difficult poet.
He may in fact be the most immediately appealing of China's great poets, and in Hinton's masterful translations he sounds utterly contemporary.
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