Landscape poetry, as the name suggests, describes the beauty and charm of natural scenery, and landscape poets express their emotions through extolling the enchanting scenery. Landscape poetry is characterized by vivid description of sights with rich and refreshing language. During the Eastern Jin Dynasty, scholars who had fled war-torn homes in the north sought solace and escape in nature in the south, and this found expression in poetic descriptions of mountain and river scenes. Xie Lingyun, a great poet of the late Eastern Jin and early Song Dynasty of the Southern Dynasties, created this poetic style. He introduced the depiction of natural beauty into poetry writing, freeing poetry from bland and insipid moral preaching. Further developed by Xie Tiao, He Xun, Yin Keng, and others, landscape poetry became an important literary school. It gained prominence in the Tang Dynasty, especially in the prime of Tang, during which landscape poets like Wang Wei and Meng Haoran distinguished themselves. Mid-Tang poets including Liu Changqing, Wei Yingwu, and Liu Zongyuan also became famous for writing landscape poems. This gave rise to a new form of expression in poetry and a new trend of aesthetic appreciation.
The literature and poetry of the early Song Dynasty of the Southern Dynasties saw some changing trends: metaphysical poetry implicating Laozi and Zhuangzi's thoughts declined and landscape poetry gained in popularity. Poets sometimes used a few hundred words of parallel prose just to describe a scene, or competed with each other in writing an unusual line. In describing scenes, they tried to depict every detail; in composing a literary work, they racked their brains to achieve what is unusual. This has become the current trend in literary writing. (Liu Xie: The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons)