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Poem Index

Book of Songs - 诗经 (6th century BC)

Qu Yuan - 屈原 (340-278 BC)

Song Yu - 宋玉 (3rd century BC)


The earliest Chinese poetry begins with the Shi Jing (诗经), a collection of 305 poems of varying length, drawn from all ranks of Chinese society. The title Shi Jing is usually translated in English as The "Book of Songs" or sometimes as "Book of Odes".

诗 (shī) means "song-words." 经 (jīng) can mean "classic" or "traditional" or in the context of literature, it means "writings" or "scripture."

Some of these poems may date back to 1000 BCE. The oldest poem in this collection that can be pinpointed precisely dates back to 621 BCE, the date of the death of Duke Mu of the state of Ch'in. The various poems probably were compiled over several centuries, most of them during the Zhou period around 600 BCE. This treasury of traditional songs is the oldest collection of poems in world literature, and it became one of the Five Confucian Classics.

In spite of the many centuries that the Shi Jing embraces, there are several traits prevalent in the poems that later became traits of Chinese poetry generally.

Zhou Poem of the month

Qu Yuan (屈原) - Zhou Poem
Poem in chinese characters with pinyin and explanation in chinese.

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