David McCraw

About us
Contact us


David McCraw got his PhD in Chinese Poetry under James JY Liu, at Stanford. Since then, McCraw has tried to convey China’s poetic legacy to Western audiences. David's translations on MountainSongs are from his book Du Fu's Laments from the South, published by the University of Hawaii Press.

In recent years, his research has centered on rhetoric, pedagogy of Classical Chinese, and phonology of early texts (particularly how it affects rhyming). For some recent publications, see David's website: http://www.chinesestudies.hawaii.edu/community/faculty/mccraw_david.html

Recently I asked David to send me pinyin versions of poems, together with the Chinese originals. It seems I hit a 'hot spot'. Here is David's reply:

"There IS one catch, tho'...it's the pinyin business. It's not such an
ENORMOUS waste of time, but i dislike waste. Edmund Wilson said it best long ago (thesubj. was Russian, but...):

Problem is, the experts don't need it, and the non-experts can't use it.
Well, but what about those aspiring students who hope to improve their
Classical Chinese w/dictionary work? Here again, the problem is: the research tools that will improve a person's Tang Classical Chinese aren't arranged by pinyin.

Pinyin's an ok crutch for some purposes, but your "aspiring students" need to be shown how to go beyond modern dictionaries. Then again, pinyin misleads. Edward Schafer put it well in Golden Peaches of Samarkand: (using Mandarin pronunciation for Tang words) "would be like calling C Julius Caesar'C.J. Czar.' " Darned if it makes sense for me to waste time & effort spelling out things in a way that will only mislead students..."

An understandable complaint. No one likes pinyin, but it seems it is here to stay, and today in China many people chant the old poems in Putonghua.

Chinese Lyricists of the Seventeenth Century . Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1990.

Du Fu's Laments from the South . Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1992.

How the Chinawoman Lost Her Voice. Sino-Platonic Papers 16:1992, 28pp.

Yi kong wei zhong: Interstanzaic Translation's Place in Soong Lyrics. Sung-Yuan Studies . 24: 1994. Pp. 143-163.

Pursuing Zhuangzi as Rhymester. Sino-Platonic Papers 67:1995, 40pp.

Three Lyrics by Nalan Singde. (trans.) The Columbia Anthology of Poetry . Mair, Victor (ed.) Columbia University Press, 1995. Pp. 522-523.

Women and Old Chinese Poetry. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996.

Out from Qing Boudoirs. Constructions and Confrontations: Changing Representations of Women and Feminisms, East and West . Bacchilega, Cristina & Moore, Cornelia (eds.) Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996. Pp. 121-139.

Hanging by a Thread: Li He's Deviant Closures. CLEAR . 18: 1996. Pp. 23-44.

Fugue and Flight in Ancient Chinese Poetry. Tamkang Review . 29: 1999. Pp. 21-43.

The Poetry of Su Shi and the Humor of Resistance. Proceedings of the ASPAC Conference . 1999. 10pp.

Six Lyrics by Gu Taiqing (with critical biography). (trans.) Chinese Women Poets: An Anthology of Poetry and Criticism . Sun Chang, Kang-I (ed.) Yale University Press, 1999. Pp. 589-603.

Magic Precincts: Five Chinese Temples and How They Grew. (2001).

Qing Dynasty Lyrics. The Columbia History of Traditional Chinese Literature . Mair, Victor (ed.) (Forthcoming: Columbia University Press, 2001).

Syntacticon: The World's Largest Classified Database of Classical Chinese Grammar Patterns. See http://www.shuhai.hawaii.edu/* 2003.

Criss-Cross: Chiasmus in Old Chinese Literature.
http://www.hawaii.edu/eall/ppl/indiv/Chn/McCraw/* 2006.

A Madman 狂夫
A Stranger's Night 客夜
An Honored Guest Comes 賓 至
Ascending High 登 高
Ascending The Tower 登 樓
Ascending Yueyang Tower 登岳陽樓
At Dreadloch Gorge, Meditating On Antiquity 瞿唐懷古
At Gong'an, Meditating On Antiquity 移居公安山館
Chancellor Of Shu [Zhuge Liang] 蜀 相
Expressing My Feelings On A Night Of Travel 旅夜書懷
From The Highest Tower Of White Lord Citadel 白帝城最高樓
Full Moon 月圓
Gazing In The Wilds 野 望
Lodging At White Sand Post Station 宿白沙驛
Lodging In A Riverside Tower 宿江邊閣
Lone Goose 孤雁
Mooring Beneath Yueyang's City Wall 泊岳陽城下
Night #1 夜二首 #1
Night (1) 夜
Night (2) 夜
Night In The Tower 閣夜
On A Spring Night, Delighted By Rain 春夜喜雨
On Hearing Imperial Forces Have Recovered The Northeast 聞官軍收河南河北
Pounding Clothes 擣衣
Powerful Flow Eyot 灩預堆
Reflected Rays 返照
River Hamlet 江村
Riverside Kiosk 江亭
The Last Day Of Autumn 767 十月一日
The Paired Cliffs Of Dreadloch Gorge 瞿塘兩崖
To Meng Haoran 贈孟浩然
Traversing Grotto Court Lake 過洞庭湖
Upon The Jiang 江上
Weary Night 倦夜
White Lord 白帝
Winter Solstice 冬至