Qujing (Conceptualize an Aestheric Feeling)
The term means to conceptualize an aesthetic feeling by selecting images that best express a poet’s sentiments and appreciation. The term qujing (取境) was coined by the Tang monk poet Jiaoran in his Poetic Styles. After conducting a review of how poets from the Six Dynasties to the mid-Tang Dynasty wrote poems, he concluded that to write poems, one must structure one’s thoughts ingeniously so as to generate a uniquely original conception with no trace of clichés. Then, after some deep thinking, an inspiration will arise and his imagination will run free. In this way, the poet can create a poem with a fine visionary world. Although the conception may be highly original, ultimately the style of the work should be simple and natural without any traces of having been laboriously crafted. This term is closely related to the terms jingjie (境界) and yijing (意境); together, they are part of a series of terms dealing with jing (境) in classical Chinese poetics.
When a poet starts to compose a poem, if his conception of the poem tends towards grandeur, then the artistic conception of the poem will be grand; if his conception of the poem is free and easy, so will be the aesthetic conception of the poem. (Jiaoran: Poetic Styles)
Without entering the tiger’s den, one cannot catch a cub. When developing one’s poetic conception, it is necessary to begin to contemplate what is most difficult and daring before great lines can spring to mind. After one completes a poem, one should review its overall structure and appeal. If it looks so smooth and natural as if written effortlessly, then it will be a great poem. (Jiaoran: Poetic Styles)