Friday, August 17, 2012

Su Hui's Verse Puzzle

Lady Su Hui and Her Verse Puzzle

A while back, I heard about a woman in ancient China who had written a poem in the form of a twenty-nine by twenty-nine character grid. This poem could be read forward or backwards, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

That blew my mind! Unfortunately, I couldn't remember her name and I lost track of the information. When I tried to look it up again, I couldn't find anything on her or the poem. But recently I looked and there it was:

Apparently, this poem can be read thousands of different ways. Too bad I can't read Chinese! The poet's name is Su Hui and this is the only poem of hers that survives.


* The silk painting of Lady Su Hui and Her Verse Puzzle is at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
* An article about Su Hui and her poem
* There's a bit of info about the poem/poet on the second half of this page about The 85 Project.
* Classical Chinese Poetry Genres

Mary Lee at A Year of Reading is hosting the Poetry Friday round-up today.


jama said...

This is fascinating. Wish I could read Chinese too!

Author Amok said...

Hey, friendly friend. This is very cool. I was taking Sei Shonagan's Pillow Book into classroom workshops for a while with good success. This is new to me. Next time I'm visiting the Met, I'm going to check it out in person.

Linda B said...

I'm glad you found this, Tabatha. I read the one link of the background & find the thought of the sheer passion that she showed through this poem. How brilliant (& frustrated) she must have been. Like many poets who are female, they seem to want to cross the line, dissatisfied with the way things are, wanting to ignore the status quo. Very interesting to think about! Thank you.

Mary Lee said...

Unexpected change of plans: the roundup is at A Year of Reading Thanks for changing your link!

Andromeda Jazmon said...

This is so amazing! I am really glad you tracked it down and shared it here with us. I am so sorry to have messed up FP this week, and grateful to Mary Lee for picking it up. I have a post up today with you linked, however.

Mary Lee said...

Makes me think that English is an incredibly limiting language!!