故人西辞黄鹤楼，You have left me behind, old friend, at the Yellow Crane Terrace,
烟花三月下扬州。On your way to visit Yangzhou in the misty month of flowers;
孤帆远影碧空尽，Your sail, a single shadow, becomes one with the blue sky,
唯见长江天际流。Till now I see only the river, on its way to heaven.
This quatrain, A Farewell to Meng Hao-jan on His Way to Yang-chou (黄鹤楼送孟浩然之广陵, English translation by Witter Bynner, 1881 – 1968), written by Tang poet Li Bai (701 – 762), represents a golden era of Chinese classical poetry, when the Complete Anthology of Tang Poetry compiled more than fifty thousand poems by over 2,000 poets, each a star with lasting impact in China’s literary history. For more than 1,200 years, classical poetry continues to inspire poets, scholars, and literati alike in China and beyond. In recent years, classical poetry has made quite a comeback in China’s pop culture, transforming ancient poets into characters in films, TV series, music, art and more.
From Ode to the Goose (《咏鹅》) to Guan Guan Go the Ospreys （《关雎》）, there are many great poems that can be introduced to students of various ages to build their intercultural competence through classical poetry when studying Chinese language. For many Chinese language teachers, the richness of great classical poems presents both an advantage and a challenge: while there is certainly no lack of authentic resource to expose students to this art of Chinese language, what to expect the students to grasp by learning classical poems? What is the gist of classic poetry that can be reasonably understood and delivered in limited time? Can we, Chinese language teachers, articulate why classical poetry has such enduring impact, and convey to our students its beauty?
This seminar, led by Professor Xiaoming Hu, Director of the Institute of Chinese Literature, East China Normal University, is the beginning of a journey to step deeper into the world of Chinese classical poetry. Looking back from its peak time in Tang Dynasty (618-907) to its fountainhead, Book of Songs (《诗经》, 11th to 7th BCE), participants are to understand deeper of the classical poetry as a literary form, examine its power of shaping Chinese culture, and collectively explore ways in which learning can be made possible in a second language classroom.
This two-hour online seminar will be in Chinese.