Tang poetry refers to poetry written in or around the time of and in the characteristic style of China's Tang dynasty (618-907 A.D.) and/or follows a certain style, often considered as the Golden Age of Chinese poetry.
Tang Dynasty marked the high point of classical Chinese poetry. Not only was the period prolific in poets and in poems (perhaps as many as 50,000 poems), but poetry was integrated into almost every aspect of professional and social life, including as part of the Imperial examinations taken by anyone wanting a government post.
The poetry of the Tang Dynasty was so strong that it remains influential today, and it towered over the generations that followed it. Please see Multiple-ways to learn Chinese ancient poems for more details.
Ci (simplified Chinese: 词) are a poetic form, a type of lyric poetry, done in the tradition of Classical Chinese poetry. Ci use a set of poetic meters derived from a base set of certain patterns, in fixed-rhythm, fixed-tone, and variable line-length formal types, or model examples: the rhythmic and tonal pattern of the ci are based upon certain, definitive musical song tunes. For speakers of English, the word "ci" is pronounced somewhat like "tsuh", and they are also known as Changduanju (長短句/长短句, "lines of irregular lengths") and Shiyu (詩餘/诗馀, "that which is beside poetry").
Typically the number of characters in each line and the arrangement of tones were determined by one of around 800 set patterns, each associated with a particular title, called cípái 詞牌. Originally they were written to be sung to a tune of that title, with set rhythm, rhyme, and tempo. Therefore, the title may have nothing to do with its contents, and it is common for several ci to share the same title, having little or nothing to do with the topics of those poems, but rather refers to their shared rhythmic and tonal patterns. Some ci would have a "subtitle" (or a commentary, sometimes as long as a paragraph) indicating the contents. Sometimes, for the sake of clarity, a ci is listed under its title plus its first line.
Ci most often express feelings of desire, often in an adopted persona, but the greatest exponents of the form (such as Li Houzhu and Su Shi) used it to address a wide range of topics.
This book has 100 selected Tang poems and Song Ci in their original Chinese texts with English translations, as well as beautiful hand-painted illustrations for each masterpiece, making it an excellent way to learn Chinese culture and language. This volume has 335 pages.