The Anyone-Can-Do-It Method for Writing Chinese Poetry (in Japanese) - Thoughts on Language, Authenticity and Form

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Stephen Collington

The Anyone-Can-Do-It Method
for Writing Chinese Poetry (in Japanese)
Thoughts on Language, Authenticity and Form



○● ○○●



Okay, let’s get right down to business and write a poem in Chinese.
     It won’t take long: just four lines, five characters per line, twenty characters in total. Our guide for the process will be Nitta Daisaku, late professor of literature at Jissen Women’s University, Tokyo, Japan. We join him in mid-lecture, on page 92 of his popular 1970 handbook How to Write Chinese Poetry (Kanshi no tsukurikata):

      . . . so setting aside the finicky details, let’s start, as always, with some word-searching in the Poetic Diction Dictionary. This time, why don’t we change our perspective a bit with something like “sending off a friend” or “partings”?
           Choosing autumn for the season, I take a long look at “Autumn: Partings” (page 231). Various scenes, suggested by the words and phrases there, float about in the mind. The phrase “lingering moon” catches my attention. Sending a friend off, remaining behind alone afterwards—some such scene would seem to go with 殘月 “lingering moon.” Why don’t we try it?
           Vaguely thinking along those lines, I continue searching. I wonder what’s available for rhymes, so I take a look there. Under “Rhyme 5: 微” the phrase 白雲飛 “white clouds above us soar” pops out at me. That would go well with the “lingering moon” from earlier, wouldn’t it. Let’s try it:

        lingering moon     white clouds above us soar

      The meter is ○● ●○◎. That should fit nicely—let’s go with that. Since it ends on a rhyme , it will have to be an even-numbered line, second or last. Let’s make it last for now: those soaring clouds seem to invite us to large and distant thoughts, so if we think of our third or “turn” line in those terms, they should come together quite well for a conclusion.
           Looking at the “Turn Line Endings” chart with that in mind, we see various possibilities:

        千里雁        ○●●                         “geese flown a thousand miles”
        鄉關遠        ○○●                         “the homeward pass so distant”
        千里遠        ○●●                         “a thousand miles distant”
        思千里        ○○●                         “in thought a thousand miles”

      The meter here of course has to be ○●●, so we need to use “geese flown a thousand miles” or “a thousand miles distant” or the like. But what about the start of the line? Bringing out the explicit object of the “thoughts of return” might be a good way to go. . . .
           And so, thinking this way and that, I settle at last on  故山千里遠 ●○ ○●● “old mountain home a thousand miles distant” for the turn at line three. Putting together the results so far:


        old mountain home    a thousand miles distant
        lingering moon    white clouds above us soar

      That should do.

           So now it’s time for our first and second lines. The second or “extension” line has to rhyme of course, and we used “Rhyme 5: 微” in our closing line, so back to “Rhyme 5: 微” we must go. The phrase 獨倚扉 “leaning against the door” jumps out. Left behind after the friend’s departure, leaning against the door for support—a nice, lonely, desolate feeling to the words. Let’s use it. The meter is ●●◎, so the first part of the verse has to be ○○ or ●○, or we’ll be breaking the rules. But look, there’s the phrase 送君 ●○ “I watch you go”—that would probably fit.

        送君獨倚扉          ●○  ●●◎  
        I watch you go     leaning against the door

      A faint feeling of desolation pervades the line: the friend departed; the poet left, finally, alone. If we’re going to capitalize on it, however, we’re probably going to need to mention the circumstances of “I watch you go” at some point in the poem. And of course, all we’ve got left to work with is the first line. So let’s see. . . .
           In the “Turn Line Endings” chart, there’s a 催歸思 “your thoughts now turning homeward.” Meter: ○○●. In a quatrain like the one we’re writing, the first line must always end on a , so that will fit. (That’s why we look in the “Turn Line Endings” chart—it has the line-end segments that end in .) So then the first part of the line has to be ○● or ●●. And right at the beginning of the lists, there it is: 遊子 ○● “wandering guest.” Metrically that looks good, so let’s line it up:

        遊子催歸思          ○●  ○○●
        wandering guest     your thoughts now turning homeward

      It’s a little lacking in poetry, but maybe that’s a good thing. If the poetic feeling is too ramped up from the start, one can sometimes run out of breath later.
           Anyway, putting it all together . . .

        遊子催歸思                ○●  ○○●
        送君獨倚扉                 ●○  ●●◎
        故山千里遠                 ●○  ○●●
        殘月白雲飛                 ○●  ●○◎

        wandering guest     your thoughts now turning homeward
        I watch you go     leaning against the door
        old mountain home     a thousand miles distant
        lingering moon     white clouds above us soar

      It’s not that great, perhaps, but it feels more or less finished. When the moon lingers in the sky at dawn, the clouds that float past no doubt may look light or dark, depending on the weather, but then there’s the old expression, “White clouds and thoughts of home.” So I’ll just have to beg for indulgence there. Title? How about, 送友人歸鄉 “Sending a Friend Off Home”? And don’t forget to put the date on it. . . .
                                                Kanshi no tsukurikata, pp. 92-4

Well, there are mysteries here to be sure—not least, all that talk of s and s in connection with “meter.” The circles refer, of course, to the special tonal prosody of classical Chinese poetry, in which “level” tones ( where the voice is held at a constant pitch) are contrasted with “deflected” tones (  where the voice rises or falls sharply) in various patterns. It may seem complicated at first, but all you really need to know in practice is a few basic rules:

          (1) the second and fourth circle in each line must be different ( ___ or  ___ ), and that 2-4 pattern in turn must vary between lines in a prescribed way;
          (2) there  should  never  be three  circles  of the  same type  at the  end of a line ( _ _ ○○○ or _ _ ●●●);
          (3) the fifth circle of lines two and four must be a , which is considered a for the purposes of rule (2) above (i.e.,  _ _ ○○◎ is disallowed).

And that’s about it, at least for this type of quatrain. As for what the circles mean—what the various level and deflected tones really sound like; how the patterns fit together to make a pleasing tonal prosody; even how the rhymes actually do rhyme sometimes (when it looks like they shouldn’t)—all that can be set aside, as Professor Nitta would say, as just so much “finicky detail.”  
     The basic outline of what he has done, at any rate, is clear. Drawing upon a special “Poetic Diction Dictionary,” he has written a traditional, four-line Chinese quatrain, using separate charts for the ends of rhyming lines (“Rhyme 5: 微”) and non-rhyming lines (“Turn Line Endings”), and a metrically annotated listing of words and phrases under the heading “Autumn: Partings” for everything else.
     The result is a poem that meets all the requirements of a classical Chinese quatrain: it rhymes, and has its tones in the right places, and it follows the expected rise-extend-turn-tie pattern of development from one line to the next. If we could somehow travel back in time and ask Li Bai or Du Fu or the other Tang Dynasty masters their opinion, they might not be exactly bowled over by it . . . but nor would they find it the least bit strange.
     So Professor Nitta has written a Chinese poem. And as the title of his book How to Write Chinese Poetry makes clear, he intends it as a demonstration for others interested in learning to do the same. 
     But that’s still not the strange part.
     The strange part is that Nitta is writing for an audience that (honorable exceptions aside) does not, for all practical purposes, speak a word of Chinese. 


●○  ●●◎

Vocabulary Chart, Rhyme 5 and 'Turn Line Endings' (samples), from Kanshi no tsukurikata, pp. 231-8


In his perennially popular 1959 textbook How Does a Poem Mean? John Ciardi first related an anecdote about W. H. Auden that has since gone on to become part of the shared folklore of the modern poetry workshop:

      W. H. Auden was once asked what advice he would give a young man who wished to become a poet. Auden replied that he would ask the young man why he wanted to write poetry. If the answer was “because I have something important to say,” Auden would conclude that there was no hope for that young man as a poet. If on the other hand the answer was something like “because I like to hang around words and overhear them talking to one another,” then that young man was at least interested in a fundamental part of the poetic process and there was hope for him. 
                                                (How Does a Poem Mean?  p. 3)

It makes for a nice image, the young poet quietly hanging around the parts of speech, taking notes on their conversations like some kind of lexical anthropologist. And most of us no doubt would be content to leave it at just that: a nice image—suggestive, slightly humorous, useful as a point of departure for thinking about how we write poetry, but hardly practical as a prescription for real training in the art. But what if we were to take the man at his word?
     Nitta Daisaku does not mention Auden in How to Write Chinese Poetry, but he certainly would have agreed with him about the importance of hanging around with words and listening to them talk. And he has a very specific group of them in mind: the 240-page “Poetic Diction Dictionary” which makes up the bulk of his handbook. It is there, he insists, that the aspiring poet must start, discovering which words fit with which words, and what they say when they get together in groups:

      When writing Chinese poetry, it is essential to use a collection of poetic diction like the one included in this book, selecting appropriate words and phrases out of it, and practicing lining them up and fitting them together. . . . This practice in word gathering is the real foundation for writing Chinese poetry. . . . It may seem like terribly monotonous work, but in truth it is an unbeatable method for building strength. At the introductory stage, I earnestly entreat you to engage in this kind of training.
                                                (Kanshi no tsukurikata, pp. 82-84)

Of course, to Western readers, accustomed perhaps to more romantic ideas about poetic development (“poets are born, not made”), such a program might seem unduly restricting, even stultifying—especially after Nitta lets out how long he expects learners to spend at it before venturing beyond:

      Keep repeating this word gathering practice for several months, and when you’ve got the tone-meter patterns in your head, and more importantly, when you’ve come to feel in your heart that this word gathering stuff is actually kind of interesting, then you’ll have graduated, more or less. (p. 84)

More than anything that we are told to do, however, it may be what we are told not to do that ultimately seems strangest from our Western perspective. For even if the restriction is implicit in the method itself, it’s still a bit jarring to see it spelled out so baldly. Not only is the notion that the poet might have “something important to say” irrelevant to his process of word gathering, Nitta actively forbids it:

      You must never get the idea that you’ll just try expressing your own private thoughts or poetic intention in Chinese characters. If that’s what you’re after, you should learn to write modern free verse, or some other form, but not Chinese poetry. (p. 84)

Auden, after all, never said that a poet should not have something important to say. The most that can be inferred from Ciardi’s anecdote is that he believed that a lively interest in language—in how a given message might be conveyed, as opposed to the what of the message itself—is a better predictor of success. A poet’s first interest, as a poet, should be poetry . . . but surely that doesn’t preclude saying something personally significant along the way?
     And it’s not like this restriction on personal expression is simply a temporary expedient, something to keep the learner on task until the basics are mastered. No, for even after we have graduated (“more or less”!) from mere word gathering and turn the page to “Composition” to write our first poems, we still find Nitta sounding the same grim warning:

      I’ll say it again: all inner demand for self-expression, all things related to so-called modern poetics, are absolutely forbidden at this time. (p. 85)

Can he be serious? The whole business really is starting to sound rather daft—the comically self-contradictory delusions of some tin-pot literary reactionary. The poet is brought forward, primed for the moment of poetic creation . . . and then told to suppress “all inner demand for self-expression.” Logically speaking, it would seem that no poem at all could happen under such conditions. Where is the impetus for the thing supposed to come from? If not the poet, who is going to write the poem?
     Why, the words will, of course. Go hang out with the words, is Professor Nitta’s reply. Listen to what they have to say.

●○  ○●●


Of course, trying one’s hand at poetry in a foreign language—and in a “dead” or classical variety of one at that—is a phenomenon by no means limited to the kanshi poets of Japan. Indeed, writing verses in Latin was for centuries an educational rite of passage for students in England, and later America and beyond. 
     And nor was it always a mere classroom exercise, something to be handed in and (hopefully) quickly forgotten. A complete edition of Milton’s poems, for example, will contain a tidy sixty or seventy pages of Latin, not to mention sonnets in Italian and a translation of Psalm 114 into rolling Greek hexameters, à la Homer. There’s even a letter to dad (“Ad Patrem”), presumably written after Milton senior had expressed disapproval of his son’s post-graduation career path: “Nec tu vatis opus divinum despice carmen” (You should not despise the poet’s task, divine song . . . ) and so on for 120 lines. At least the old man would know he’d got his money’s worth paying for all that fancy education!
     So, no, we should not be too quick to judge: there’s absurdity enough among peoples—and certainly among poets—to go around. There’s even a Latin equivalent to Nitta’s “Poetic Diction Dictionary,” the Gradus ad Parnassum, a kind of poetical thesaurus for aspiring latter-day Virgils and Ovids. The two types of book differ in arrangement in important ways, but their underlying purpose is the same. Each provides a suitable selection of vocabulary for poetic composition, and crucially each shows the correct metrical value for every word presented, so that poets using them can be sure that their lines will scan correctly.
     But then, if you don’t even know how to pronounce the words you’re using, what on earth is the point of writing verse—metrical verse—in a foreign language? It’s as if poets in some far off land were to decide one day to write in English pentameters, but have no idea whatsoever where the accents fall. (Is it whatSOeVER or WHATsoeVER? Or what?)
     Of course, one might suppose that all that looking up of words in Poetic Diction Dictionaries would at least leave poets with a clear sense of what the final result—their own work, after all—should sound like. But even there, common sense comes away baffled. As Derek Attridge has documented in Well-Weighed Syllables, his fascinating study of Elizabethan experiments with “quantitative” verse, the distinction between long and short syllables that is the foundation of classical Latin prosody was entirely lost on our literary ancestors. It didn’t exist in English, or in any of the descendants of Latin that they knew (it had disappeared, in fact, long before Latin branched out into the modern Romance languages); and so with no model to work from, and no one to tell them differently, they simply assumed that the effect was inaudible:

      It was an intellectual apprehension, not an aural one. . . . He [the student/poet] probably accepted in good faith that others with acuter senses or finer minds than his had worked out which syllables were long and which short, and what kinds of pattern were the most challenging and the most satisfying . . . [b]ut his prosodical training led him far away from any conception of metre as a rhythmic succession of sounds . . . into a world pervaded by a sense of subtle intelligence and high civilization, where words are anatomized and charted with a precision and a certainty unknown in the crude vernacular.
                                                (Well-Weighed Syllables, pp. 76-7)

In the case of Japanese, of course, things are made even more complicated by the logographic writing system which it inherits from Chinese. To simplify somewhat in the interest of brevity, each written character in Chinese represents a single “word” (strictly speaking, morpheme) as an integral unit of meaning + sound. Naturally, however, only one of those elements, meaning, is readily translatable between languages. The Japanese people’s historical solution to that dilemma—a choice whose awkward, maddening, yet also beautiful consequences they live with to this day—was just to reassign the characters to native (Japanese) words, according to their meanings.

      Character       Basic Meaning     Loan-word Chinese     Reassigned Japanese
                                                                Pronunciation                 Pronunciation
          送                    send                          sō                               oku(ru)
          君                    you                          kun                                kimi
          獨                   alone                         doku                             hito(ri)
          倚                    lean                            i                                  yo(ru)
          扉                   door                           hi                                tobira

One happy result of this compromise is that Japanese readers can often look at a passage of Chinese and make a fairly good guess as to its meaning, familiar as they are with the basic store of characters from everyday use. But then, Chinese and Japanese work on radically different grammatical principles—particularly in the matter of word order—so it still looks like a bit of a jumble. Reading the characters with their reassigned Japanese pronunciation is halfway along to a translation anyway; why stop there? Why not just rearrange the word order so that the line makes better sense in Japanese?
     And that, of course, is exactly what they do. Using a small number of rule-of-thumb principles, an experienced reader can take a line of Chinese poetry, and swiftly turn it inside out and upside down, so that it reads in a rough-and-ready, but generally serviceable variety of Japanese. Verbs are shifted so that they fall after the direct object, and various inflections and grammatical particles, absent in the original, are quietly added. And so it is that the second line of Professor Nitta’s poem, what we have seen translated above as

      I watch you go     leaning against the door

goes from being

      1送         2君      3獨       4倚       5
               kun       doku        i          hi


      2君を           1送りて          3獨り            5扉に            4倚る
      kimi o          okurite             hitori           tobira ni           yoru

in the blink of a reader’s eye. 

Even if the Japanese pronunciation of direct loan words preserved some trace of the tone accents of the original Chinese—which it doesn’t, no more than the English pronunciation of loan words preserves the long and short vowels of classical Latin—it wouldn’t matter. Once the line actually comes to be read out loud, the carefully reproduced tonal meter of Tang Dynasty poetry goes right out the window. The whole line has been reshuffled, rearranged, repronounced. Even the rhyme which Professor Nitta was so careful to place at the end of the verse is gone.
     Really, it can’t be emphasized too strongly: this is not some occasional or optional trick; this is how Japanese readers habitually read Chinese poems, including the ones which they themselves have written. In other words, Professor Nitta’s book explains how to write metrically correct, rhymed Chinese poetry to Japanese readers who, should they take him up on the challenge, will never so much as hear the meter or the rhyme of their own poems . . . and that for the simple reason that they’ll never actually read them in Chinese.


○●  ●○◎


One wonders what, say, John Keats would have made of it all. It’s hard to imagine that this was quite the sort of thing he had in mind when he wrote his famous ode, but there you are. The Japanese kanshi poet takes the tonal music of classical Chinese poetry and turns it into something altogether liberated from the demands of the mere “sensual” ear:

      Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
      Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
      Not to the sensual ear, but more endear’d,
      Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone. . . .
                       (“Ode on a Grecian Urn”)

It’s a lovely idea, really. But then, as we have seen, in practice it involves months of lonely training with the Poetic Diction Dictionary and a rigorous suppression of “all inner demand for self-expression” . . . and even then the results may well be, as Professor Nitta puts it, “not that great, perhaps.”
     And so the question remains, Why bother? Why go to all that trouble matching tone and rhyme patterns in blind obedience to an alien prosody, when you’ll never actually hear the tones and the rhymes when you read your finished poem? Why, in short, even attempt to write Chinese poetry at all?
     One answer to that last question, of course, would just be because you can. As we have seen above, in its relationship with Chinese, Japanese is a lot like English, in its relationship with Latin. But while we may be able to look at a line of Latin verse and pick out much that seems oddly familiar (“Nec tu [‘Et tu, Brute!’] vatis [vatic] opus [opus] divinum [divine] despice [despise/despicable] carmen [Miranda?] . . . ”), no one imagines that you can actually read the stuff with understanding—let alone write it—without extensive training in Latin as a foreign language. The grammar is just too complicated. Even when all the words are familiar (and Milton’s line is probably exceptional in that regard), it will generally be impossible to see the relationships between them.
     With Chinese, however, things are very different. While it’s a mistake to assert—as has indeed sometimes been done—that Chinese is a language “without grammar,” it’s not hard to see how the misunderstanding itself could arise:

          遊                    子                    催                    歸                    思
      travel                person           urge                  return               thought

          送                    君                    獨                    倚                    扉
      send                 you                 alone                lean                  door

          故                    山                    千                    里                    遠
        old                 mountain        thousand          mile                  distant

          殘                    月                    白                    雲                    飛
      remnant            moon             white                cloud                fly

Starting with a language already marked by “analytic” spareness—a language without inflections or tenses or cases or gender or number—the poets of classical China took the logic of juxtaposition to its ultimate natural conclusion. Ruthlessly stripping away all “superfluous” connecting material, they produced, in effect, a kind of self-contained literary dialect based on radical simplicity and suggestion. It is not “without grammar”—syntactic relationships are still governed, fundamentally, by Chinese word order—but compared to the complexities of an inflected, “synthetic” language like Latin, it almost might as well be.
     And so it is that Japanese readers can look at a poem in the Tang Dynasty style and not only understand it (if, sometimes, in a rough-and-ready way), but even aspire to emulate it. The simplicity of the poetry itself is part of the attraction. With “grammar” reduced, practically speaking, to a principle of juxtaposition, the text becomes a series of leaps—from image to image and thought to thought—that can seem at times to take in entire worlds . . . and all in the space of as few as twenty Chinese characters.
     It looks so easy . . . as if anyone could do it. And indeed—it’s not a joke—there really is an “anyone-can-do-it” method, Tachikake Rozan’s The Anyone-Can-Do-It Method for Writing Chinese Poetry (With Complete Poetic Diction), sharing pride of place on the shelf beside Professor Nitta’s How to Write Chinese Poetry. (“Can anyone write Chinese poetry?” Tachikake asks on the first page of his book. “The answer is simple: Anyone can.”)
      And yet, again, the obvious objection remains. If everything is so very easy, why should anyone need a handbook in the first place?
It’s an interesting puzzle in literary psychology. A Japanese poet who wanted to try capturing something of the imagistic verbal magic of the Tang Dynasty masters really could just go ahead and write. The words, thanks to more than a thousand years of borrowing from China, are familiar enough after all. Why not, as Professor Nitta puts it, “just try expressing your own private thoughts or poetic intention in Chinese characters”? Juxtapose this image with that, make an unexpected turn at line 3, open out to wider prospects for a suitably expansive close—with a little practice, surely, one could soon be doing Li Bai proud.
     Mindless formalism? What else can one call it, this insistence that one must follow the rules, that one’s lines must scan with the correct tonal prosody, and rhyme in the right class of rhymes? If neither poet nor potential audience will ever hear those effects in the finished poem, what is the point of the exercise?
     Authenticity? Well, yes. To write a rhymed, prosodically correct poem in Tang Dynasty Chinese—that’s one kind of “authenticity.” And if you’re going to write “Chinese poetry,” perhaps it really is the one kind that counts. Otherwise, as Professor Nitta puts it, what you wind up with might be “modern free verse, or some other form,” but it won’t be “Chinese poetry” in anything like the desired sense of the term.
     But then, if we drop the word “Chinese” for a moment and think only in terms of what we normally mean by “poetry,” the procedure really does seem rather mad. The poet sits and sorts through a list of preselected vocabulary, arranged, for convenience, by topic and metrical value and rhyme, and cobbles a poem together according to what pattern fits where in the established form. Where’s the room for the authentic voice of experience in that?
     Again, however, comes the answer, from Professor Nitta, from the many devoted kanshi poets of modern Japan: The authentic voice of experience is the words.

      The resulting work . . . might seem to some to be removed from reality—ever so behind the times—but in truth it is not so. . . . Literature, ultimately, is a kind of lie, a fiction. And yet, even while being fiction, it does not stop at being fiction, but is at the same time an expression of the truth of its author. Let us suppose that we have some thing portrayed here: the thing portrayed, then, is none other than a projection of the person who made the portrait, nothing less than an expression of that person’s inner self. Moreover, there’s something mysterious and wonderful about the fact that in doing so one brings into being a world that one had otherwise never so much as imagined before. This, it seems to me, is a pleasure that can be said to belong to the writing of Chinese poetry alone. 
                                                Kanshi no tsukurikata, p. 90

It is the paradox of form—and in the starkest terms. You choose some formal element of language to foreground in a poem, and in doing so, you drastically restrict the linguistic options available to you. Inevitably, often repeatedly, you find yourself diverted from what you “really” had to say when you started, denied the use of one verb because it doesn’t rhyme, pushed towards some other because it does, and so on. At some level, you really do have to suppress your “inner demand for self-expression” and just listen instead to the words.
     The process has its perils and its pitfalls, to be sure. In the clamor of voices that is the “Poetic Diction Dictionary,” it can take a sensitive ear to pick out the truly interesting conversations between words—and a strong will, too, to resist the more obvious and banal suggestions they sometimes make. And ultimately, of course, the only meaningful standard of success is whether the final result is a poem worth reading—a test that’s not easy to pass in any language.
     At any rate, Professor Nitta’s defense of literature as fiction is perhaps the final clue we need to understand the Anyone-Can-Do-It Method, and its perennial appeal. If you are “Sending a Friend Off Home,” is it more authentic to describe the noise and the crush of Tokyo Station, the smell of the lunchboxes on sale at the kiosks, the low whine—then roar—of the Bullet Train as it pulls away from the platform . . . or to set yourself leaning against the door of an old thatched cottage, watching the “wandering guest” slowly disappear into the distance, as the crescent moon fades and white clouds soar, high above in the morning sky?
     The answer, of course, is that it will depend—on the poet, and on the poem that results, and on the sympathies of that poem’s potential readers. But certainly there seems no reason to deny either approach out of hand. And besides, it’s hard to disagree with Professor Nitta when he says that there is something “mysterious and wonderful” about a poetry that allows—indeed, forces—its practitioners to leave their day-to-day world behind, and explore instead scenes and places “never so much as imagined before.”
     The night is calm, the moon glitters upon the river . . . and there beneath a tree, Li Bai beckons with a jug of wine. Go on. Anyone can do it. 
     Just don’t forget your flashlight. You’re going to need it to use the Poetic Diction Dictionary.




Aler, Paul, et al. Gradus ad Parnassum; sive novum synonymorum, epithetorum, versuum, ac phrasium poeticarum thesaurus. London: Company of Stationers, 1817. (First published 1686. Accessed via Google Books, March 2010.)

Attridge, Derek. Well-Weighed Syllables: Elizabethan Verse in Classical Metres. Cambridge University Press, 1974.

Ciardi, John and Miller Williams. How Does a Poem Mean? Second edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1975 (1959).

Nitta Daisaku, Kanshi no tsukurikata: Kindai Nihon Kanshi-ron e no josetsu. Meiji shoin, 1970.
新田大作『漢詩の作り方 近代日本漢詩論への序説 』明治書院、 1970。)Translated title: How to Write Chinese Poetry: Preface to a Theory of Chinese Poetry in Modern Japan.

(Rozan) Tachikake Shigeo, (Shigo kambi) Dare ni mo dekiru Kanshi no tsukurikata, Rozan shisho kankōkai, 1990 (1963). (呂山 太刀掛重男『詩語完備 ・ だれにもできる漢詩の作り方』 呂山詩書刊行会、1990、初版 1963。)Translated title: The Anyone-Can-Do-It Method for Writing Chinese Poetry (With Complete Poetic Diction).

Shawcross, John T., ed. The Complete Poetry of John Milton. New York: Anchor Books, 1971.