IpseDixit wrote:Does Japanese and Chinese poetry (or even, more in general, literature) have more of a visual element to it than languages which use an alphabet do? i.e: choosing words not just because of their meaning or sound or general rythm but also because of the beauty of the character(s).
As Vijay says, calligraphy is its own art form and I'm sure there are lots of considerations which go into which style is used for a particular piece. One of the few guidelines I know of which I've seen followed pretty consistently is not using the same form of a character which appears more than once in a poem in order to add variety.
It seems likely that authors chose the words they used with a view to how they would appear on a page, but I don't recall reading anything about that in analyses of famous poems. It could be their choices are somewhat obscured by the fact that often we don't have their original calligraphy so we don't know which style they chose for which poem and, therefore, how this might have influenced the choice of characters. Also, despite the Qin standardisation of the script, variant forms do exist and have persisted.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons