Like his colleagues H.D., Moore, and Pound, Williams doubtless saw Lawrence Binyon's exhibition of Chinese art at the British Museum, 1910-12, and recognized the importance of his close friend Pound's Cathay in 1915 when he judged "the Chinese things" to be "perhaps a few of the greatest poems ever written." Williams's repeated references in his early work to "Yang Guifei," the courtesan-heroine of Po Cheu-i's 806 A.D. narrative poem Changhenge had their source in Herbert A. Giles's 1901 translation.
William Carlos Williams. "To the Shade of Po Chu-i." In Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, A. Walton Litz and Christopher MacGowan, editors. New York: New Directions, 1986.
Marianne Moore's interest in China stemmed in part from her friendship with a Presbyterian missionary family and her visits to New York galleries. Always intrigued by the exotic, she regularly sought elements of "the wisdom of the East" to illustrate her moral points.
Marianne Moore. "He Made This Screen." In Poems. London: The Egoist Press, 1921.
HE MADE THIS SCREEN
not of silver nor of coral,
but of weatherbeaten laurel.
Here, he introduced a sea
uniform like tapestry;
here, a fig-tree; there, a face;
there, a dragon circling space --
designating here, a bower;
there, a pointed passion-flower.
The Twentieth Century: American Modernists:
E.E. Cummings and Gertrude Stein