Monday, March 09, 2009

some suggestions for intepreting the meaning of a poem--"Fishhawk" also known as Guan ju

A student asked for help tonight in understanding a poem she said was "Fishhawk" (the English title for what she said was an old Chinese poem.) I have since learned that this is a very famous poem and that many commentaries say osprey, rather than fish hawk. (Poetry and birds are not my strong suits.) The student didn't offer any other information.

I tried the literature databases without much success using fishhawk. When I tried wikipedia, I learned that there is an article Guan ju, that the title of the poem comes from the first line Guan Guan ju jiu, "which evokes a scene of ospreys calling on a river islet. Fundamentally the poem is about finding a good and fair maiden as a match for the young noble." This article has a number of references, of which I checked CUNY+ and we have several of the books:

Chinese approaches to literature from Confucius to Liang chʻi-chao /

Baruch - Stacks - PL2272.5 .C5327

The Columbia history of Chinese literature /

Baruch - Stacks - PL 2265 .C65 2001

Anthology of Chinese literature : from early times to the fourteenth century /

Baruch - Stacks - PL2658 .E1 B522 1967

I hope that this is helpful.

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