Li Po was born in what is now Sichuan Province. At 19 he left home and lived with a Taoist hermit. After a time of wandering, he married and lived with his wife's family. Then he lived briefly as a poet at the Tang court in Chang'an. He decided to return to a life of Taoist study and poetry writing. During his wanderings in 744 he met Tu Fu, another famous poet of the period. In 756, Li Po became an un official poet laureate to Prince Lin. The prince was soon accused of intending to set up an independent kingdom and was executed. Li Po was arrested and imprisoned, but a high official looked into Li Po's case. The high official had Li Po released and made him a staff secretary. In the summer of 758, the charges were revived. Li Po was banished to Yeh-lang. Li Po frequently celebrated the joy of drinking. According to legend, Li Po drowned while drunkenly leaning a boat to embrace the moon's reflection on the water. Most scholars believe he died cirrhosis of the liver or mercury poisoning due to Taoist longevity elixirs.

Most of Li Po's works are lost, but almost 2000 poems were collected in 1080. Li Po is best known for his pieces describing voyages through imaginary landscapes. Li Po prefers older poetic forms such as songs or ballads. Some themes expressed in Li Po's works are the sorrows of those separated by the demands of duty and the relief found in wine. He also wrote about friendship, solitude, the passage of time, and the joys of nature. Some of his works are "Saying Goodbye to Meng-Hao Ran," "Leaving a Friend," "Bitter Love," "River Trip Bai Di," "The River Merchant's Wife," "Down the Mountain," "Li Po Alone Drinking," and many more.

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