I am interested in all periods of Chinese poetry, as well as having a more general interest in Chinese fiction ancient and modern. I am based in Exeter, Devon, and I am a member of the Weir Poets group.

In 2008 I published 'Spring in the Ruined City' a selection of poems of the Tang poet Du Fu. I decided to focus on the short but intense period of his mid-life when some of his greatest poems were written. Readers who consider themselves brave might wish to read his two most famous long poems, as previous translators have tended to avoid these, or reduce them to mere extracts.

A revised edition was published in August 2009.

Further translations of Du Fu have appeared in Modern Poetry in Translation (Transplants, Third Series, No. 13). I have also published translations of poems by Wang Wei and Ryōkan, and my versions of Su Shi (Su Dongpo) appeared in Modern Poetry in Translation 3/18.

Spring in the Ruined City

Spring in the Ruined City: This selection of Du Fu’s poems concentrates on the ten years of his life during which the Tang dynasty (618–907 AD) was very nearly overturned by rebellion, and Du Fu himself experienced great physical and emotional hardship.Spring in the Ruined City: The poems chronicle a definite movement from the bleak depression in the earlier verses, written in northern China during the near fatal rebellion mentioned above, to a more hopeful note as the military tide turned, to a whole variety of moods, inspired by such stimuli as the lush landscapes of southern China or his  increasing despair that yet more disturbances (in effect, local rebellions) had broken out.

Mouse over the back cover.....

“Du Fu, one of the world’s major poets, has been handsomely served in this superbly produced book. Jonathan Waley has caught every facet of the original in his elegant translations - the pathos, the honesty, the rueful lyric gift - and provided clear contexts to help the readers find themselves in these turbulent years during the eighth century AD. Facing-page calligraphy entices one who knows no Chinese to pick out characters for ‘tree’ or ‘person’ or ‘ spring’. ”

Harry Guest

Spring in the Ruined City is published by Shearsman, and a sample of it can be downloaded from www.shearsman.com or purchased from the Shearsman Store.


Spring in the Ruined City: Paperback, 112pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £8.95 / $15 ISBN 9781848610002

revised 2009
Jonathan Waley ~ Hollytree Cottage, 13 High Street, East Budleigh, Budleigh Salterton, EX9 7DY  ~ 07814 086 172 ~ 
Jonathan Waley © 2008