Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

A short lesson on poetic economy

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Plum Blossoms by Qi Baishi

A Chinese poet happened to compose this couplet:

In the woods over there deeply buried in snow,
Last night a few branches of the plum tree burst out in bloom.

He showed it to his friend, who suggested that he alter “a few branches” into “one branch.” The author followed his friend’s advice, praising him as his “teacher of one character.”

D.T. Suzuki, Zen and Japanese Culture

Written by nevalalee

January 12, 2013 at 9:50 am

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