He was one of the most popular "new poets", who write in free verse, after the May Fourth Movement in China. His most famous book is called Poetry and Truth (詩與真), a title he borrowed from Goethe's autobiography Dichtung und Wahrheit, where the Chinese poet expresses his thoughts on poetry.
He was prosecuted during the Cultural Revolution, and devoted the last part of his life to the study of Chinese medicine. He married thrice. His last wife was a player of Cantonese opera, who wrote a little memoire recollecting her relationship with the poet.