Classical Chinese poetry and English poetry show huge differences, mainly with regard to literary imagery, sense, rhythm, sound, genre, and format. Hence, English translation of classical Chinese poetry based on equivalence is not an option. This article intends to explore translation as a creative, cross‐cultural practice. We shall suggest that “mirror‐shared reality” may play a critical role in ... [Show full abstract] this practice. This notion refers to an intermediate construction made by the translators with the aim of bridging different “realities” of classical Chinese poetry and English poetry with regard to knowledge, tradition, and reference. The construction of a “mirror‐shared reality” is a type of creative practice based on both realities, not just one of them. By selecting some of their relevant shared features, the two realities will mirror each other in certain essential aspects and produce an aesthetic experience among English readers theoretically akin to the experience among their Chinese counterparts. Our discussion is based on a number of English translations of classical Chinese poems, in particular translations by Xu Yuanchong (许渊冲 [Xǔ Yuānchōng]), building on his own theory, “Threefold‐Beauty” (三美论 [sān měi lùn]).