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Chinese Poetry

Sam Beasley

Poetry has consistently been held in high regard in China, in Chinese culture, poetry has provided a forum for both public and private expressions of deep emotion, offering an insight into the inner life of Chinese writers across more than two millennia. The greatest poets are thought to have lived a thousand years ago or more during the Tang (618-907), Song (960-1279) and Han (206 BC – 220 AD) dynastic eras. Du Fu, Li Bai and Su Shi are considered among the best ancient poets, and there are five major kinds of major ancient poetic styles called Shi, Ci, Ge, Qu and Fu.

The description of the types and more information can be found here:


Li Bai (701-762)

Li Bai (also known as Li Bo or Li Taibai), of the High Tang period, ranks alongside Du Fu as one of the two leading figures of Chinese poetry. Li Bai liked to write in a free form poetry like that of more ancient times. This kind of poetry was called Gu Shi (古詩). He travelled widely like Dufu and he wrote about places he visited and things he saw. He is described as a romantic poet.

Du Fu (712-770)

Du fu, also known as Tu Fu, liked to write in a structured form of poetry that was called Lu Shi 律詩 or regulated poetry. Perhaps one of the reasons people like his poems is because he wrote about the people and places he visited. He is thought of as one of the greatest realist poets of China. His poems reflect the hard realities of war, people dying next to rich rulers, and primitive rural life. It is thought that he lived in a simple hut near the end of his life where he wrote many of his best realist poems. Perhaps more than 1,400 of his poems survive, and his poetry is still read and appreciated by modern Chinese people.


Published by poetisatinta

I was born and live in rural North Wales (UK) and found poetry again after a lifetime, so grateful I did :)

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