Chinese Poetry project - Medieval Chinese Literature
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Chinese Poetry Project

black line drawing of cliffs and clouds on yellow paper
T'ang landscape painting and poem

Some ideas for projects to help you understand Bai Juyi's poetry better:

1) Bai Juyi wrote clear, simple poems that often pointed out problems with the Chinese government. How would you have felt living under Chinese government? Write your own clear, simple poem about that.

2) Or, think of a problem with your own government, maybe one you have experienced yourself - does your school not have enough money? has your religion been persecuted? did your parents pay an unfair amount of taxes? and write a clear, simple poem about that.

3) Analyze the Grain-Tax poem. How does Bai Juyi make his points clear? Do you think this is something that actually happened? What similes does the poet use? Are there any metaphors in this poem? What is the poet telling us?

More about Bai Juyi
Song of Everlasting Sorrow
The Grain-Tax (a poem)
Chinese Literature
Ancient China home

To read more of Bai Juyi's poetry:

Links to more of Bai Juyi's poems

Chinese literature
Ancient China home

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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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  • Carr, K.E. . Study Guides, . Web. 26 April, 2017