Jiāngxī shīpài 江西诗派
The Jiangxi School of Poetry
The Jiangxi School of Poetry was the first school of poetry and prose with a formal name in Chinese literary history. It took as its core tenets the notions of “turning a crude poem or essay into a literary gem” and “squeezing new life out of an old sponge,” as proposed by Huang Tingjian (1045-1105), a Southern Song Dynasty poet from Jiangxi Province. Members of that school devoted themselves to writing poetry with themes about scholarly life. They championed a vigorously “thin and stiff” style, stressed drawing on the skillful wording or remarkable ideas of their predecessors, and paid close attention to the techniques of writing to ensure that each word used in poetic composition can be traced to its origin. Huang’s notions differed from Tang Dynasty poets’ pursuit of impromptu inspiration, elegant subtlety of inspiring imagery as well as vim and vigor in poetic creation. The Jiangxi School’s influence spread across the poetic community of the Southern Song Dynasty, affecting even early modern-day poetic creation.
It was not until Huang Tingjian‘s time that poetry started to embrace grandeur. Huang tried hard to boost poetic creation. Poets of later generations, who fashioned themselves after Huang, arose in succession and echoed each other. They solved the millennial mysteries of poetic creation so completely that almost no skill was left unexplored. Hence the term “the Jiangxi School of Poetry” to recognize its founder as a native of Yuzhang, Jiangxi Province. (LüBenzhong: Branches of the Jiangxi School of Poetry)