JONATHAN CHAVES (Chinese name Ch'i Chiao-han/Qi Jiaohan |
齊皎瀚) was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1943. He earned his PhD in Chinese Literature from Columbia University in 1971, and is Professor of Chinese Language and Literature at The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., having served as chairman of the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures for a period of nine years.
Chaves has aimed at introducing Chinese poets previously unknown in the West in English translation. He has published the first books in English or any Western language on such masters as Mei Yao-ch'en/Yaochen 梅堯臣 (1002-60); Yang Wan-li 楊萬里 (1127-1206);Yüan Hung-tao/Yuan Hongdao 袁宏道 (1568-1610); Wu Li 吳歷(1632-1718; as a poet--his painting is famous); and soon (Fall,2006), Chang Chi/Zhang Ji 張籍 (c.766-c.830), in a book, Cloud Gate Song (Floating World Editions) which, in an experiment, will present 300 poems by Chang in rhymed or half-rhymed English translation, tracking the rhyme-schemes of the original Chinese texts. His book on Yüan Hung-tao, Pilgrim of the Clouds (Weatherhill, 1978), was nominated for the National Book Award in the translation category.
Chaves has also emphasized the relationship between poetry and painting in China, curating an exhibition on this theme for The China Institute in America (New York, Fall 2000), entitled The Chinese Painter as Poet.
He has also published original poetry, both in modernist style and in neo-formalist metrical forms with rhyme. For examples, see the on-line journal, Praesidium, http://literatevalues.org/prae-4.4.htm and scroll down to "Four Poems in Paint."
Photo is of Jonathan and his 7 month old grandson Aaron.