Ben Wang’s Special Course: A Fresh Dawn with New Poetic Styles: From the 19 Old Poems to Tao Yuanming

The Nineteen Poems in Antiquated Style: Composed by anonymous poets during the Eastern/Latter Han dynasty (25-221 A.D.), the poems (along with the Ballad) brought in a new dawn in poetry and exerted immense influence on the start and popularity of the pentasyllabic poetry. These poems depict profound, but deceptively and seemingly simple and light, views of ordinary people through vivid and poignant images of the winding country lanes and flowing rivers, the shining moon and flying birds, telling subtly the poets’ preference of an inspired aloneness to a forlorn loneliness.

The poems uniquely contain a delicacy and poise widely imitated in the following centuries. The poems posed clearly as a break from the songs sung before, such as those in Book of Songs and Songs of the South, making a shift to fully display a new poetic vista. These nineteen songs mark the beginning of a poetic tradition, much treasured as some of China’s most lovely poetic works accessible to a large number of readers, aficionados of poetry and literature.

Two of the most prominent poets to be discussed in the course are Cao Cao (曹操) and Tao Yuanming (陶渊明).Cao Cao (155-220) is one of the most colorful and controversial statesmen, militarists, and poets in the history of China. His poems functioned most significantly as a literary cornerstone that bridged the quatrosyllabic poems of antiquity and the later pentasyllabic poems.Tao Yuanming (372-427) is China’s greatest poet after Qu Yuan and before Li Bai. It is no exaggeration to state that all poets after Tao Yuanming were more or less inspired by him in both spirit and style. Enlightened by the quintessence of the Dao and Buddhist views and teaching, Tao Yuanming’s life and works stress the significance of a spiritual serenity found in a Zen-inspired poet… Read More

Tuesday, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
April 13 – June 15
10 sessions (20 hours)
$500 member / $540 non-member
(plus a $30 non-refundable registration fee)
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Instructor: Ben Wang