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Gao Qi (高启, 1336 – 1374),style name Ji Di 季迪, pseudonym Qinqiuzhi 青丘子 is generally acknowledged as the greatest poet of the Ming dynasty in China. He was born and raised in the shore of Wusong River, north of Puli Town near Suzhou. His life was dominated by the fall of the Yuan dynasty and the rise of the Ming. In the 2nd year of Ming Hongwu, Gao Qi was called on as editor of Yuan Shi, The History of Yuan. Soon afterward, he was promoted to the post of deputy finance minister; but he declined, on pretext that he had no ability to manage finance. He retired to Blue Hill of Puli Town and taught students for living. Emperor Hongwu deemed him not cooperative; in 1374 he was accused of involvement in a "rebellion conspiracy" and was executed, he was only 39 years old.

Gao Qi's Work

  • Edited History of Yuan
  • Qing Qiu Ji, Collected Works of Blue Hill, a collection of his poems

His style of poetry was a radical departure from the extravagance of Yuan dynasty poetry, and led the way for three hundred years of Ming dynasty poetry.

Poems

Farm House

Gao Qi ( Ming Dynasty )

I heard Sound of spinning wheel

Mingled with sound of flowing water

Sight of wooden bridge,

flowerless trees in hazy spring

Where from the aroma the breeze brought so close ?

Ah, next neighbor is baking afternoon tea !

Translated by Martin Tai (1998)


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