Image of Chinese Song Dynasty poet Mei Yaochen.

Mei Yaochen

(1002 - 1060)

Mei Yaochen passed the civil service examination at the age of forty-nine, serving in various provinces and in the capital, but his career in government was undistinguished. Better known as a poet, he was called the “mountain-opening patriarch” of Song dynasty poetry. Preferring a plainer, more prosaic style of verse to the hyperbolic romanticism popular in his day, Mei characterized his poems as pingdan, a Chinese term that can mean “ordinary, tranquil” or “blank, thinned out, and flavorless.”

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