Li Qingzhao (Li Ch'ing-chao) 1084-ca.1151

The best known of China's women poets, renowned especially for the unaffected emotional intensity of her ci. Born into a literary family in modern Ji'nan, she established herself early as a major talent. In 1101 she married Zhao Mingcheng, who shared her artistic and academic interests. But the turmoil caused by the Jurchen overthrow of the Northern Song meant that the couple were often separated and lost most of their collection of books and antiques. Zhao died suddenly in 1129, and Li led a peripatetic existence for a while, making a short-lived and unhappy second marriage in 1132, and continuing to write poetry until the end of her life.

Works available in English:

  • As Though Dreaming: The Tz'u of Pure Jade by Li Ch'ing-chao (Lenore Mayhew
       and William McNaughton). Berkeley: Distributed in the U.S. by Serendipity
       Books; Tokyo: Mushinsha, 1977.
  • Li Ching-chao: Complete Poems (Kenneth Rexroth and Chung Ling). New York:
       New Directions, 1979.
  • The Complete Ci-poems of Li Qingzhao: A New English Translation (Wang
       Jiaosheng). Philadelphia: Department of Oriental Studies, University of
       Pennsylvania, 1989.
  • The Lady and the Hermit: 30 Chinese Poems (by Li Qingzhao and Wang
       Fanchih) (C.H. Kwock & Vincent McHugh). San Francisco: Tao Press, 1962.
  • The Lotus Lovers: Poems and Songs (by Tzu Yeh and Li Ch'ing-chao) (Sam
       Hamill). Saint Paul: Coffee House Press, 1985.