Tu Fu (dō fō) [key], 712–70, Chinese poet. In Pinyin, his name is romanized as Du Fu. Tu Fu is often considered the greatest of Chinese poets. He did not pass the imperial civil service examinations and, although he held a few official positions for brief periods, he spent many poverty-stricken years as a wanderer. His poetry expresses his bitterness concerning his life. It laments the corruption and cruelty that prevailed at court and the sufferings of the poor. Tu Fu's work is pervaded by an ironic awareness of spiritual and social decay, yet maintains humor and a sense of hope. His autobiography was translated (1929–34) by Florence Ayscough.
See biographies by W. Hung (2 vol., 1952) and A. R. Davis (1971); Li Po and Tu Fu, ed. and tr. by A. Cooper (1973).