The Xikun Poetic Style
北宋初年出现的以追求辞藻华美、对仗工整为主要特征的诗歌流派。 宋初，杨亿、刘筠、钱惟演等人聚集在皇帝藏书的秘阁，编纂历代君臣事迹，诏题《册府元龟》。他们在编书之余，写诗相互唱和，并结集为《西昆 酬唱集》，时人因称之为“西昆体”。“西昆体”诗人提倡学习李商隐，讲求用典精巧、意旨幽深，重视音律与借代，其作品词采精丽、音节铿锵、 属对工整，一扫晚唐五代以后平直浅俗的诗风，在诗歌发展史上有一定影响。由于是酬唱之作，大都雕琢太过，缺乏真情实感，常流于艳浮，为后人诟病。
This poetic style pursued rhetorical beauty and symmetrical structure. In theearly years of the Northern Song Dynasty, poets such as Yang Yi, Liu Yun, and Qian Weiyan gathered in the emperor's private library to compile Important Mirrors for Governance, a book that records the activities of monarchs and their ministers in all previous dynasties. During spare time, they wrote poems to each other. Later, they put these poems into a collection titled A Collection of Xikun Poems. (Xikun, in an ancient Chinese legend, was a place where books of emperors were supposedly housed, thus the title for their collected poems.) Xikun style poets drew inspiration from Li Shangyin, who was meticulous about the use of allusions and whose poems had subtle appeal. These poets prized metrical rigor and metonymy. Their works were exquisite in diction, highly rhythmical, and strictly parallel, doing away with the insipid and shallow features of poetic style in the late Tang as well as the following Five Dynasties and Ten States period. Xikun style poetry exerted a considerable influence on poetry writing in the later periods. However, being written impromptu just to echo each other, such poems tend to be overly polished and lacking in true sentiments, and their vanity was frowned upon by later critics.
- 盖自杨、刘唱和，《西昆集》行，后进学者争效之，风雅一变，谓之昆体。 由是唐贤诸诗集几废而不行。 （欧阳修《六一诗话》） （大约自从杨亿、刘筠开始唱和，《西昆酬唱集》风行，后辈学人争相效仿， 诗风为之改变，因而称之为“昆体”。从这以后，唐代诗人的诗集几乎被人 遗忘而不流传了。）
After Yang Yi and Liu Yun wrote poems to each other, A Collection of Xikun Poems became popular, and its style was emulated by poets of the later periods, thus transforming the poetic style. A new way to write poetry, known as the Xikunstyle, emerged. From then on, collections of Tang poems were all but forgotten.? (Ouyang Xiu:?Ouyang Xiu’s Criticism of Poetry)