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Chapter Summary

In this introductory chapter of the book the author describes He Zhu’s poems. A critical issue facing all Song poets was how they were to handle the shi genres that were available to them. The effect of a given genre on the tone of a specific poem is seldom mentioned in most scholarship on Chinese poets, though certain poets are declared to excel in one genre or another. By experiencing significant numbers of He Zhu’s poems in the groupings that he establishes, one can begin to develop a feel for the rhythms and ranges of thematic options that are associated with the various formal properties of the genres. The extra-literary contexts that illuminate He Zhu’s poetry include agricultural conditions, national politics, water management, and local flora and fauna. The author also speaks of the voice of the poet and the voice of the man who was the poet.

Keywords: Chinese poetry; genre; He Zhu



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