Li Yu Poetry Analysis

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On Li Yu’s Poetry: A Laureate Coming Alive Contemporary scholar Wang Guowei comments on Li Yu in his widely-known On Chinese Ci Poetry: “Men’s ken of Ci has broadened only since Last Ruler Li, their insight deepened, so that the songs of courtesans eventually became a part of scholar-officials’ literary life” (Wang). Furthermore, in Fu Tang Comments on Ci Poetry, poet Tanxian Qing from Qing dynasty also praises him, “The Ci poems of Last Ruler, highly estimable and wondrous, are sufficiently comparable to Li Po’s poetry” (Qing). Undeniably, during his 42 years of life, Li Yu has pushed the aesthetic value of Chinese Ci poems to an unprecedented level, his few remaining works having been recited for over a thousand years. In this essay, I shall discuss this poet in two separate sections: the influence of Li Yu’s experience on his poetry themes, as well as the categories of his poems and his specific writing techniques. The Life of a Tragic Ruler Li Yu’s original name was Li Congjia, but he altered his name immediately after his enthronement. His father and grandfather also changed their names after becoming emperors, so that their “first names” in Chinese all contained a character “sun” inside. Since the sun, which never perishes, is an auspicious symbol, the three rulers of South Tang prayed for a good fortune during those turbulent years. Notwithstanding, man proposes, but God disposes: Li Yu is also known by another name, Last Ruler Li, because in order to prevent the

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