Course details

   "Neruda's Love Poems in Chinese"  is the first sequel of my " Learning Chinese Language and World Poetry Series", which teaches Chinese language through learning the expertly translated poems of the most acclaimed poets in the world, as poetry is the most beautiful use of language in any world language, and translation often highlights the distinguished feature of each language. The Nobel Prize winner, Chilean poet Pablo Neruda,  is venerated as "the greatest poet of 20th century in any language" by Gacia Marquez, another highly influential Nobel Prize Winner in Literature from Columbia. As the Nobel Prize Award Committee claims, "under Neruda's pen, a whole continent was brought to life." In his Whitman-like at the same time, strangely, Rilke-like, Pantheist love poem collection, "Twenty Love Songs and the Song of Despair", from which the poems of this course draw on, one can feel strongly that there is a fecundity so deep that it approaches sadness, a propinquity so large that is similar to distance, a life so rich that only death can accommodate. Ultimately, death and loss is not the opposite side of life, but the hidden side of a global being. In most poems in this course, the ambiance of the poem is stormy night with thunder and lightening, externalizing the poet's inner turmoil: his passion, combat and trial of belief—his cross. But the woman image in these poems seems to merge with a higher existence above his mortal strife. Among scenes of destruction and ruins, among the cyclone and uprooted trees, she is an image of fertile nature unaffected by the ruin---she is the corn tassel, the cloudless sky, sparkling leaves, at the same time one of higher spirituality—the broken stars imaged in the water, the lightning, the fiery white lotus and the "question of smoke". She crosses the scene of ruin without stop, she grows out of the roots of death and destruction and rise above it.  She fills everything, far and beyond, near and inside, so that she almost becomes divinity itself, the sacred muse of the poet's creation. 

    Each poem is taught in 2-3 lectures, depending on the length of the poem:  the first one or two lectures are the text practice (with Chinese character, pinyin and English translation text and a page of poetry comment at the end of the lecture) and line-by-line poetry analysis of the poem, in which I will teach you the language as much as explain to you the poetic interpretation of the symbolic meaning of the poems; the third lecture is the musical recitation of the poem, in which You can follow my reading of the poem against intoxicating musical background. Through learning this course, you will find your Chinese language skill greatly enhanced with beautiful Chinese vocabularies and expressions amassed in all realms of human emotional experience and in the great Nature, at the same time getting to appreciate and understand the immortal beauty of the love poetry of the world's greatest poet. 

Updated on 22 March, 2018
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