Some ideas for projects to help you understand Bai Juyi’s poetry better:
A poem about Chinese government
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? One good Chinese poetry project would be to write your own clear, simple poem about that.
A poem about a problem with government
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.
Analysis of a poem
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)
To read more of Bai Juyi’s poetry: