Poetry. Asian & Asian American Studies. Translated by Red Pine. Before Qu Yuan (340-278 B.C.E.), poems in China read as if they could have been written by anyone. Qu Yuan changed this. It was his voice. He was a poet. Wang Wei once said he never traveled anywhere without taking two books with him: the Vimalakirti Sutra, from which he took his own pen name, and the poems of Qu Yuan. He wasn't alone. It's hard to find any Chinese poet of the past whose verse wasn't affected, if not inspired, by what Qu Yuan wrote and by the way he used language, his rhythms and his voice.