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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry Overview of Chinese Verse with Index Chinese poetry has one of the longest continuous histories of any written language. It is exemplified not only by its quantity but also by its quality and form. All ancient Chinese poetry was sung and was not confined to specific stanza length. After 2nd century AD rhetoric in poetry was cultivated into mainstream forms. The forms on this page all appear before the birth of Christ. Shi Jing, poetry from as far back as 20th century BC was sung in the Yellow River Basin of China as popular songs. (In honesty I don't know if this form has a name, or if Shi Jing is the name of the anthology in which this form is found. I have read that shi means verse of equal lines which fits most Chinese forms, this one included. ) The poems often appeared simplistic but were easily chanted. The line was repeated over and over again. The elements of the Shi Jing are: syllabic, 4 characters per line. mono rhymed since the same line is repeated over and over. a line, repeated. Since all Chinese poetry of this era was sung, there is no specific # of lines per stanza prescribed. Chu Ci from 4th century BC is attributed to the writings of a prince-poet. I could only find that the form was a narrative and it was committed to only 3 characters or in English 3 words per line. Writing a narrative in 3 character lines in English would sound terse and monotonous. No specific line # per stanza. Wu Yan from around 1st century BC was a metrical form of 5 characters per line without specific # of lines per stanza.