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Ch'I Yen Shih

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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry

Chinese Poetry


Lu Shi (code verse) is a genre of Chinese forms that carries two or more parallels of content and phonetic tone. Its values match and balance and tend to be responsive not imaginative.


The Ch'I Yen Shih is the oldest of the Lu Shi. John Drury's poe-try-dic-tion-ar-y describes the verse form, Ancient Verse, which is probably the same or a variation of the Ch'I Yen Shih.


The Ch'I Yen Shih is:

  • stanzaic, written in no more than 3 quatrains, usually only 1 quatrain.
  • measured by 7 characters per line which in Chinese are mono-syllable words but could be words of more than one syllable in English. Usually written with a caesura after the 4th word in a line.
  • rhymed. Rhyme xaxa xbxb x being unrhymed.
  • always written with parallels and balance.


    One Note Tones by Judi Van Gorder


    Words in low tones, one by one,

    lines of pen-scratch, black on white,

    thoughts set to sing, please the ear.

    Sight and sounds blend, born to write.


    Other Code Verse

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