Joshua Bocher: The Song of Everlasting Sorrow

Bai Juyi (772-846) was a seminal Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty. He wrote in a direct and accessible style and was extremely popular, influential both in China and Japan. He served in various positions as a government official, though he spent a few years in exile for his outspoken views on government early on in his career. He was well-known for both his socially conscious narrative poetry, as well as his touching personal lyrics.

“The Song of Everlasting Sorrow” is one of his most famous poems, mythologizing the love affair of Emperor Xuanzong and Yang Guifei which took place during the An Lushan Rebellion, the beginning of the decline of the Tang Dynasty.…

Seven Valleys of Love

Two poems from Sheema Kalbasi’s new bilingual anthology of Persian poetry:

Seven Valleys of Love: Translated by Sheema Kalbasi



Your tender revolt
Contained by the illicit apple
Pounds in red
And your eyes’ shattered diamond
A woman in seclusion
Revolves into a star
With you
On the surface of water
I am thirsty
Place the skies in your eyes
Blaze out the star
So that I can see you
The sea is peaceful

–Mehri Rahmani

Those days
Was my room
And wherever I felt unsafe
I gravitated into its eternal sanctuary.
These days
There aren’t any rooms
That can harbor me against the crowd
and behind every window
inside and outside every room
a two-faced clown sneers.…

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