The Art of Writing

Lu Chi's Wen Fu
“Timeless … A slim, lovely volume.” —CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER
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Written in the third century, this is one of the earliest Chinese works about the use of language, preceded only by the Ta Hsueh (Great Learning) of Confucius. Written by Lu Chi, a soldier-poet, the Wen Fu, or The Art of Writing (wen means “art”; fu is a poetic form), is intended for those who wish to engage the art of letters at its deepest levels. In sixteen sections, The Art of Writing discusses the joys and problems that face both writer and reader and provides basic insights about many techniques of writing.

Beautifully and faithfully translated by award-winning poet, essayist, and Chinese scholar Sam Hamill, The Art of Writing deserves a place on every writer’s reference table.

Publish Date
5.44 × 7.44 × 0.31 in
4.2 oz

Praise and Prizes

  • “A slim, lovely volume … These timeless poems, written about A.D. 200 by the Chinese poet Lu Chi and translated by Sam Hamill, delve into the heart of writing and remind us why the struggle to shape words is worthwhile.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer
  • “Sam Hamill has reworked this classic Chinese ars poetica in a Western lyric mode, make it not only accessible but extremely attractive. Such subtitles as ‘Choosing Words,’ ‘Finding Form,’ ‘The Terror,’ and ‘The Inspiration’ will suggest its appeal.”

    Beloit Poetry Journal
  • The Art of Writing belongs beside those very few books that give one the spirit or the spur to plunge back into the struggle to write something clearly, cleanly, memorably. Sam Hamill’s graceful translation seems a familiar voice calling across chasms of time and cultural difference, heartening and encouraging.”

  • “A precise and subtle guide to the principles of good poetry … This elegantly readable little book hardly seems dated.”

    Canadian Literature
  • The Art of Writing belongs on any writer’s bookshelf.”

    Small Press Book Review