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Li Qingzhao

A remarkable woman poet of the Song Dynasty, Li Qingzhao (1084-1155) made great achievements in prose as well as poetry, but most of all in the field of lyrics.

The style of Li Qingzhao-s lyrics changed sharply after she fled tothe south after the invasion of the Kin Kingdom in North China. Beforeshe went south, her lyrics mainly recounted the lives of girls and womenin their boudoirs. For example, Like a Dream and Complaint of the Princedescribes the airy life of cheer the poetess enjoyed at home. Tipsy inthe Flower's Shadow expresses a girl's loneliness and longing for love,as also expressed in ha Flute on Phoenix Terrace, and A Twig ofPlum Blossoms. After fleeing south, she endured great hardships in lifeand the style of her lyric poetry turned deep and pithy. Buddhist DancersCharm of a Maiden Singer and Slow, Slow Song explore the author'sfeelings about life in exile. Joy of Eternal Union is one of the classic LiQingzhao lyric poems composed in the south, presenting a scene duringthe Lantern Festival in which the poet, avoiding the company of friends,meditates on the bitterness consigned her by the war. In this lyric poem,Li Qingzhao rises above self-pity and expresses her fears for the wholenation. In Pride of Fishermen, the poet not only spilled out the distresscaused by homelessness but also expressed a strong desire for anunfettered freedom. Li Qingzhao's lyrics are woven with a "delicate restraint" in thefollowing ways: first, merging intense passion with literary images,creating an artistic conception in which feelings and scenery arewell blended; second, using simple but original language, which in LiQingzhao's lyrics is very natural and expressive. Not many literaryquotations sprinkle her lyrics but with much spoken language andcommon sayings, Li Qingzhao's lyrics have the beauty of music and areeasy to recite.

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