Types of Chinese Poems

Written by jodi beuder
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Types of Chinese Poems
Many types of Chinese poems originated during the T'ang Dynasty. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Chinese poetry dates back thousands of year. The golden age of Chinese poetry is usually considered the T'ang Dynasty period (618-906). From this period stemmed other classic types of poetry, supported by the leaders of China who were often poets themselves. Other types of Chinese poems from the T'ang Dynasty, the Sung Dynasty (906-1279) and throughout Chinese history include Lü-shih, or Shi poems, Chüeh-chü, Tz'u, Ci, Ge and Fu poems.

T'ang Poems

It is said that the greatest Chinese poetry was written during the T'ang Dynasty, a period of peace and prosperity. Leaders throughout this time encouraged the arts and specifically poem writing. The three most prominent poets to emerge from the T'ang Dynasty period were Wang Wei, who wrote mostly of nature; Li Bo, who "sang" of friendship and love; and Du Fu, who focused mostly on humanity and politics.

Lu-Shih Poems

The Lu-Shih or Shi poetry of China was verse poetry that stemmed from a four-verse poem known as the Shih Ching. The Shih poems of China were developed in the T'ang Dynasty period and made many poets famous. These verse, or rhymed poems, became renowned in this period and set the standard for rhyming poems in China throughout future eras. The Shih poems were categorised by the five-word or seven-word poem, with the rhyme typically subsiding on the even lines.

Chüeh-chü Poems

Chüeh-chü means "regulated verse," which in the Chinese poetry world means the poem has stricter rules than most other poetry. First, the poem must have an eight-line meditation made up of two quatrains. Second, these poems must have a rhyme scheme; however, in one rhyme scheme, one to two lines out of the eight may not rhyme. A famous Chüeh-chü poet in the T'ang Dynasty period was Jin Changxu.

Tz'u Poems

Tz'u poems sprouted in the Sung Dynasty. In contrast to Shih poems, Tz'u poetry was normally had lines of irregular length written as song lyrics. A well-known writer of Tz'u poems was Li Ch'ing-Chao.

Ci Poems

Much like the Tz'u poems, Ci poems can be sung to music. These poems reached a pinnacle of popularity during the Sung Dynasty as well. Famous Ci poets were Su Shi, Li Qingzhao, Xin Qiji and Lu You.

Ge Poems

Ge poems were known as folk songs. These poetic literature pieces were set by professionals to more elaborate types of songs for the imperial leaders of China. Ge and Ci poems are very similar.

Fu Poems

Fu poetry was the most difficult for the Chinese poet or artist to achieve. Typically, Fu poems contain a group of parallel couplets of varying lengths. The theory behind the difficulty in Fu poetry was that the poets would end up using unrecognisable words which thus became unpopular with the Chinese poetry fans.

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