David McCraw got his PhD in Chinese Poetry under James JY Liu, at Stanford. Since then, McCraw has tried to convey China’s poetic legacy to Western audiences. David's translations on MountainSongs are from his book Du Fu's Laments from the South, published by the University of Hawaii Press.|
In recent years, his research has centered on rhetoric, pedagogy of Classical Chinese, and phonology of early texts (particularly how it affects rhyming). For some recent publications, see David's website: http://www.chinesestudies.hawaii.edu/community/faculty/mccraw_david.html
Recently I asked David to send me pinyin versions of poems, together with the Chinese originals. It seems I hit a 'hot spot'. Here is David's reply:
"There IS one catch, tho'...it's the pinyin business. It's not such an
ENORMOUS waste of time, but i dislike waste. Edmund Wilson said it best long ago (thesubj. was Russian, but...):
Problem is, the experts don't need it, and the non-experts can't use it.
Well, but what about those aspiring students who hope to improve their
Classical Chinese w/dictionary work? Here again, the problem is: the research tools that will improve a person's Tang Classical Chinese aren't arranged by pinyin.
Pinyin's an ok crutch for some purposes, but your "aspiring students" need to be shown how to go beyond modern dictionaries. Then again, pinyin misleads. Edward Schafer put it well in Golden Peaches of Samarkand: (using Mandarin pronunciation for Tang words) "would be like calling C Julius Caesar'C.J. Czar.' " Darned if it makes sense for me to waste time & effort spelling out things in a way that will only mislead students..."
An understandable complaint. No one likes pinyin, but it seems it is here to stay, and today in China many people chant the old poems in Putonghua.
Chinese Lyricists of the Seventeenth Century . Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1990.
Du Fu's Laments from the South . Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1992.
How the Chinawoman Lost Her Voice. Sino-Platonic Papers 16:1992, 28pp.
Yi kong wei zhong: Interstanzaic Translation's Place in Soong Lyrics. Sung-Yuan Studies . 24: 1994. Pp. 143-163.
Pursuing Zhuangzi as Rhymester. Sino-Platonic Papers 67:1995, 40pp.
Three Lyrics by Nalan Singde. (trans.) The Columbia Anthology of Poetry . Mair, Victor (ed.) Columbia University Press, 1995. Pp. 522-523.
Women and Old Chinese Poetry. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996.
Out from Qing Boudoirs. Constructions and Confrontations: Changing Representations of Women and Feminisms, East and West . Bacchilega, Cristina & Moore, Cornelia (eds.) Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996. Pp. 121-139.
Hanging by a Thread: Li He's Deviant Closures. CLEAR . 18: 1996. Pp. 23-44.
Fugue and Flight in Ancient Chinese Poetry. Tamkang Review . 29: 1999. Pp. 21-43.
The Poetry of Su Shi and the Humor of Resistance. Proceedings of the ASPAC Conference . 1999. 10pp.
Six Lyrics by Gu Taiqing (with critical biography). (trans.) Chinese Women Poets: An Anthology of Poetry and Criticism . Sun Chang, Kang-I (ed.) Yale University Press, 1999. Pp. 589-603.
Magic Precincts: Five Chinese Temples and How They Grew. (2001).
Qing Dynasty Lyrics. The Columbia History of Traditional Chinese Literature . Mair, Victor (ed.) (Forthcoming: Columbia University Press, 2001).
Syntacticon: The World's Largest Classified Database of Classical Chinese Grammar Patterns. See http://www.shuhai.hawaii.edu/* 2003.
Criss-Cross: Chiasmus in Old Chinese Literature.