Bai Juyi - The Most of All Tang Dynasty Poets
Bai Juyi was an outstanding poet in ancient China, who lived during 772 and 846 in the middle years of the Tang Dynasty. He has left behind nearly 3000 poems, the most of all Tang Dynasty poets. His works are collected in Anthology of Poems by Bai Juyi.
In Bai Juyi's opinion, essays and poems should have realistic values, as is evidenced by the large number of widely popular and realistic works he produced all his life, which tell of his emotional sympathy for his time and his people's sufferings.
Bai Juyi's poems fall into several categories, allegorical poem, leisure poem, sentimental poem, etc. His allegorical poems are masterpieces, which are represented by long narrative poems like Song of Eternal Sorrow, Song of the Lute Player, New Yuefu Poetry, and Qinzhong’s Chanting, and so on. These poems reflect a panoramic view of the social life in the Mid-Tang Dynasty, focusing on the darkness of reality and people's sufferings. His leisure poem Bai asking Liu, the Man Heating Rice Wine (Wen Liu Shijiu) describes his reflections on life when he was alone and at leisure time.
Bai Juyi's poems were in wide circulation at the time, among the court and the common folks. His fame even spread as far as Korea and Japan. His poems have exerted tremendous influence on later literature. Dramatists in the following dynasties also based their creations on Bai's poems. For example, both Bai Bu and Hong Sheng based their respective dramatic creations of Chinese Parasol Rain and Palace of Eternity on Bai's poem – Song of Eternal Sorrow.