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Poetry Month

Saturday, April 1, 2017 through Sunday, April 30, 2017

According to Chinese tradition, garden landscape without poetry is not complete. Luckily, Lan Su is graced with a wealth of poetic inscriptions! Chinese gardens in China and Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland are filled with poetic inscriptions as text, calligraphy, engravings and plaques. Poetry is one of the five elements, along with rocks, architecture, water, and plants, necessary for a comprehensive Chinese garden and is often presented in the form of the calligraphic inscriptions painted on horizontal and vertical plaques or carved into stone.

Learn about the poetry in Lan Su Chinese Garden as well as the historical and aesthetic traditions of poetry in Suzhou-style Chinese gardens with workshops, tours, and poetry series featuring local and regional poets all month long! 

All activities are free with Lan Su membership or admission; no registration required. 


Create your own couplet inspired by the beauty of Lan Su!

Create your own couplet and submit by email to couplets@lansugarden.org. All couplet submissions will be reviewed by a poetry panel and your couplet might be chosen to hang on the poetry arch at Lan Su during the month of April. Learn more »


Thin mist and flowing water share millennia of time;

Mountain hues and lake shimmers converge on one building.

Inscribed by Fei Zhixiong, Number Three Descendant of the Left-Handed, Suzhou

Mid-autumn, 1999


Shades of bamboo, layers of rock: dark is the pine's hue.

Slanted the path, crooked the stream: soft is the water's song.

Inscribed by Wang Jiansheng of Reverence Studio, Suzhou


Original translations sourced from Charles Wu's Listen to the Fragrance (2006)



Community Poetry Resources

Oregon Poet Laureate - Peter Sears • Literary Arts • Poetry Power • Poets & Writers • Poetry Contest • Oregon Poetry Association • Poetry Foundation


Poetry Month Related Programing


Couplet Poetry Activity

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Create your own couplet inspired by the beauty of Lan Su!

Peach Blossom Poetry Series

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Prolific poets share their work with garden visitors every Saturday in April.

Poetry Workshop

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Lan Su is filled with classical Chinese poetry. Take inspiration from your surroundings and create poem based on your experience in the garden in this series of workshops.

Poetry Reading

Sunday, July 16, 2017

​Join local poet, ​John Brehm, for a reading from a newly published anthology of his work.

Plan Your Visit

Lan Su Chinese Garden offers infinite paths to discovery, whether you are a visitor simply taking in the beauty of the garden for the first time or a member who comes back day after day to sip tea in the teahouse.  One visit just isn’t enough to take in the depth and abundance of experiences. Lan Su is ever-changing—by the minute, by the hour, and with the seasons. Learn more and plan your visit today.

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