Du Fu (712-770) is a great realist poet from the Tang Dynasty. His style name, also known as a courtesy name, is Zi Mei (子美). Du also may be known by the pseudonym Shaolingyelao (少陵野老). Du Fu was concerned for his country and people. He created about 1,500 poems and most of them have been preserved well and passed down from generation to generation.
Du Fu is famous for his exquisite poetry and has had a far-reaching influence on the development of China’s classical poetry. He was respected and renowned as “Master of Chinese Poetry”, together with Li Bai, who was a renowned “Poetic Genius” by descendants.
When he was young, Du Fu travelled in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hebei and Shandong. During his journey, he met Li Bai twice and they discussed their poetry intimately. Thereafter, they built profound friendships with each other.
From the age of 35 to 44, Du Fu experienced many frustrations during his official career. He was trapped in Chang’an, the then capital city, after his failure in the imperial competitive examination. Finally, he got only a minor official position, and was responsible for looking after official weapons.
Du Fu later experienced the An Lushan Rebellion later. During this period of political turmoil, Du was still underappreciated and undervalued. He only got a minor official position of “Zuoshiyi”(左拾遗). But at this time, Du wrote the great poems “Sanli”(三吏) and “Sanbie”(三别), which created two new styles in narrative poetry ---discourse and speaking for others.
During the last decade of his life, Du Fu moved around a lot due to the turbulence of the age. Du Fu and his family fled to southwestern China. Unfortunately, Du died of illness in the Xianjiang River.