Originally published in Willow Springs 54

About Emperor Li Yu

Source: www.wikipedia.org

The Emperor Li Yu was a poet, calligrapher, and painter who gathered an accomplished court and encouraged Buddhists. He ruled the short-lived Southern Tang dynasty until 975 CE when he was captured and imprisoned in the Song capital of Bianjing. In prison, he wrote many poems about the death of his son and beautiful, artistic wife and the loss of kingdoms. He was forced to commit suicide in 978 CE.

Francis Blessington teaches major books of the past as aesthetically interesting in themselves and as relevant to the modern world: the Greeks, the Romans, the Bible, and Milton, especially Paradise Lost. He also teaches seventeenth-century British literature, a major period for great lyric poets, like Donne and Ben Jonson, and for styles of writing prose.