by Hsieh Ling-Yün
The great ancient Chinese poet Hsieh Ling-yün (385-433 C.E.) initiated the tradition of “rivers-and-mountains” poetry which is in many ways a written version of China’s grand landscape paintings. Born into one of the most illustrious aristocratic families in his day, he chose to live as a recluse, though in a highly cultivated way –– in the secluded mountains of southeast China, with family and visiting friends. He was a celebrated calligrapher and the most renowned poet of the age. However, he was eventually executed because of his antagonism toward the government in power, and his general insubordination.