Wang Anshi on Allusion

"Poetry suffers from overplus of allusions. The problem is when poets choose only those allusions corresponding to the subject of their poem, arranging them according to category, as if they were collating references by subject matter. Even if they do a good job, what's the point? If however one can imbue an allusion with one's own meaning, borrowing from an ancient event to express fresh intent, then any amount of allusions may be used without detracting from the poem."


-Wáng Ānshí, quoted in Cài Jūhòu's "Remarks on Poetry", tr. Yours Truly

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