Su Shi Poems

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Su Shi
Su Shi (1037–1101) was a writer, poet, artist, calligrapher, pharmacologist, and statesman of the Song Dynasty, and one of the major poets of the Song era. His courtesy name was Zizhan and his pseudonym was Dongpo Jushi ( “Resident of Dongpo”), and he is often referred to as Su Dongpo . Besides his renowned poetry, his other existent writings are of great value in the understanding of 11th century Chinese travel literature as well as details of the 11th century Chinese iron industry. Su Shi was born in Meishan, near Mount Emei in what is now Sichuan province. His brother Su Zhe and his father Su Xun were both famous literati. Su's early education was conducted under a Taoist priest at a local village school. Later in his childhood, he studied under his mother, herself a highly educated woman. Su married at age 17. In 1057, when Su was 19, he and his brother passed the (highest-level) civil service examinations to attain the degree of Jinshi, a prerequisite for high government office. His accomplishments at such a young age attracted the attention of Ouyang Xiu, who became Su's patron thereafter. Beginning in 1060 and throughout the following twenty years, Su held a variety of government positions throughout China; most notably in Hangzhou, where he was responsible for constructing a pedestrian causeway across the West Lake that still bears his name: sudi . He had served as a magistrate in Mizhou, which is located in modern day Zhucheng County of Shandong province. Later, when he was governor of Xuzhou, he once wrote a memorial to the throne in 1078 complaining about the troubling economic conditions and potential for armed rebellion in Liguo Industrial Prefecture, where a large part of the Chinese iron industry was located.

caught in the rain on my way to the sandy lake
Listen not to the rain beating against the trees.
Why not walk slowly while chanting at ease?... [read poem]
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