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Li Po

701–762

Li Po (李白), also Romanized as Li Bai, Li Bo, and Li Pai, was a Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty likely born in 701. After growing up in the Sichuan province, Li Po left home to sail the Yangzi River, beginning the journeys documented in his poetry.

Over the next twenty years, Li Po visited many cities and was employed as a translator by Emperor Xuanzong. Eventually, Xuanzong gave Li Po a position at the Hanlin Academy, where he provided poetry and scholarly advice to the Emperor. Li Po met many prominent writers of the period throughout his life, and in 744 met fellow Tang Dynasty poet Tu Fu. The two remained friends, writing to each other in their poems. 

During the An Shi disturbances and rebellion against the Emperor in 755, Li Po aligned himself with Prince Yong, eventually leading to the poet’s exile in 757. He was pardoned in 759 and continued to wander throughout China and write until his death in 762.

Li Po’s life is documented extensively in the almost one thousand poems attributed to him. Considered one of the most important poets of the Tang Dynasty, Li Po's work has influenced poets and artists across the world, including Ezra Pound, Gustav Mahler, Ha Jin, and Gary Snyder

Li Po, this image is in the public domain.
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