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Mao Tsetung Poems by Mao Zedong
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Mao Tsetung Poems

by Mao Zedong

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Chinese edition of Mao Tsetung's poems, in English.
  SteveJohnson | Jul 20, 2013 |
Interesting historical curiosity, but honestly, there were probably better poems scrawled in toilets during construction at the Beijing Olympics. Seek out only if you're a hardcore Mao groupie, in which case, as John Lennon notes, you ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow. ( )
  ProfesoraLoca | Mar 28, 2009 |
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Practically all of the earlier cluster of Mao’s poems are in ci forms; most of the later ones are shi. The common opinion, which seems to me correct, is that the earlier poems are better overall. To revert, perhaps not altogether fairly, to that catch-phrase: Mao was better at filling in than he was at writing.

The few examples of ci in the later cluster show Mao at his poetic best. His 1957 poem “The Gods,” the last he ever wrote (or at any rate published) in a ci style, is at the summit, proof that even a mediocre artist can create something halfway memorable. . . .

Putting down this book of poems, I pick up the latest issue of China Journal, a very useful twice-yearly compendium of China scholarship published by Australian National University. Page 142 discusses some village records from south China in the 1950s: “At this meeting two peasants expressed opposition to the new grain procurement system, saying that they wanted more food for their ducks. They were both sent to labor camps in Heilongjiang [in Chinese Siberia] for 15 years.”

Food for their ducks! Fifteen years! Mao Tse-tung was not much of a poet. If he had been the greatest that ever lived, though, it would still have been better for his countrymen, and for the world at large, if he had been strangled in his cradle.
 
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for Robert Payne
who years ago when I was a student in Paris spoke enthusiastically about a Chinese poet, Mao Tse-tung, when no one else seemed to know or care
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Mao Zedong, leader of the revolution and absolute chairman of the People's Republic of China, was also a calligrapher and a poet of extraordinary grace and eloquent simplicity. The poems in this beautiful edition (from the 1963 Beijing edition), translated and introduced by Willis Barnstone, are expressions of decades of struggle, the painful loss of his first wife, his hope for a new China, and his ultimate victory over the Nationalist forces. Willis Barnstone's introduction, his short biography of Mao and brief history of the revolution, and his notes on Chinese versification all combine to.… (more)

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