Examining how contemporary poets raised in China are looking at classical Chinese poetry from the Tang—in particular, the poetry and the figure of Li Bai 李白 (701–762)—this article questions the epistemological divide, common to scholarship, between premodern and modern Chinese poetry. The texts come from Shenqing shi 深情史 (Histories of Affection) by Liu Liduo 劉麗朵 (1979–); The Banished Immortal, Chinese-American poet and novelist Ha Jin's 哈金 (1956–) biography of Li Bai; the book-length poem-sequence Tang 唐, by Yi Sha 伊沙 (1966–); and poet Xi Chuan's 西川 (1963–) scholarly book Tang shi de dufa 唐詩的讀法 (Reading Tang Poetry). The author contends not only that these writers' dealings with Tang poetry make it part of a still-living tradition but also that such engagement offers a way to understand the dynamic, rather than static, canonicity of Tang poetry.

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