To read Hamill’s translations of

Li Po

Hsu Hsuan

Meng Chiao

Tao Chien

Tu Fu

Tzu Yeh

Wang Wei

Yuan Chen


For Hamill’s work at

For Hamill’s books at Shambala

For a complete list
Crossing the Yellow River: bookcover Crossing the Yellow River: Three Hundred Poems from the Chinese

Translated with an Introduction by Sam Hamill

Preface by W.S. Merwin

Publisher’s Note:

After years of passionate labor, Sam Hamill has translated both familiar and little-known Chinese poems from three millennia (330 BC to the 16th century) to compile the most comprehensive collection of its kind. Crossing the Yellow River: Three Hundred Poems from the Chinese represents a “lifetime’s devotion to the classic originals,” in the words of W. S. Merwin, begun when Hamill was introduced to classical Chinese by Kennth Rexroth and the Beat poets of the late 1950s.

Unlike earlier translators of Chinese and Japanese poetry, Hamill attempts to bring the poems into English with their directness and simplicity intact, at the same time attempting to remain true to the poet’s orginal message. Hamill includes the rarely-translated social poems of Tu Fu, the poems and songs of Tzu Yeh and Li Ch’ing-Chao, and lyrical selections from Li Po, The Shih Ching, Wang Wei, Su Tung-p’o and others. Hamill’s introduction provides the most definitive overview to date of aesthetic impulses propelling Chinese poetry and reveals his own reasons for his “lifetime’s devotion.” “I sit at the feet of the great old masters of my tradition not only to be in a position to pass on their many wonderful gifts,” Hamill says, “but to pay homage while in the very act of nourishing, sustaining and enhancing my own life.”

Comment upon Crossing the Yellow River:

“Anyone who cares about classical Chinese poetry, or who longs to learn more, must have this book. For me, the tragic poems of love and loss by Yuan Chen (779-831), and the wonderfully sensual work of that great woman, Li Ch’ing-chao (1034-1151) were an especial joy and revelation. But his careful corrections of the famous T’ang poems, so often mauled and rearranged by others, make Hamill’s work essential.” Carolyn Kizer

“It is one of the essential works of our time.” Jim Harrison

Crossing the Yellow River: Three Hundred Poems from the Chinese
is published by BOA Editions, Ltd.,
260 East Avenue,
Rochester, New York, 14604.
Telephone: 716-546-3410
Fax: 716-546-3913
1-880238-95-5 Paper $19.95
1-880238-97-7 Cloth $35.00