This work is an anthology of 225 translated and annotated Sinitic poems (
kanshi 漢詩) composed in public and private settings by nobles, courtiers, priests, and others during Japan’s Nara and Heian periods (710-1185). The authors have supplied detailed biographical notes on the sixty-nine poets represented and an overview of each collection from which the verse of this eminent and enduring genre has been drawn. The introduction provides historical background and discusses
kanshi subgenres, themes, textual and rhetorical conventions, styles, and aesthetics, and sheds light on the socio-political milieu of the classical court, where Chinese served as the written language of officialdom and the preeminent medium for literary and scholarly activity among the male elite.