Translated from the Chinese by Wendy Chen
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About the author
Li Qingzhao (1084-1151) is considered the greatest female poet in Chinese history, though only one English translation of her complete works remains in print today. During her lifetime, she defied cultural expectations for women by writing through war, exile, imprisonment, and the loss of her fortune. She is renowned particularly for her ci, which are poems set to music with predetermined meters and tones. During the Southern Song Dynasty, her ci were gathered into a collection titled Rinsing over Jade that has since been lost.