Li He (Li Ho) 791-817

A talented but eccentric poet of the late Tang whose poetry was considered 'difficult' until centuries after his death. This is probably a reflection of its pre-occupation with the macabre and erotic, its bitter wit and unusual diction. He was not allowed to sit for the jinshi degree because of a taboo on homophones of his father's name, so instead took the placing examination and was given a minor official post in Chang'an from 811 to 814. His poetry captures the lives of many of the people he met there, in particular the courtesans, and is filled with satirical references to political affairs.

Works available in English:

  • Goddesses, Ghosts, and Demons: the collected poems of Li He (790-816)
       (J.D. Frodsham). London: Anvil Press Poetry, 1983.
  • The Poems of Li Ho (791-817) (J. D. Frodsham). Oxford: Clarendon P., 1970.