Unlike most of his artistically inclined friends in Suzhou, Wu Kuan enjoyed a long and successful career as an official. He achieved first place in the palace examinations of 1472 and held a series of important posts at the court in Beijing, culminating with the office of secretary of the Board of Rites.Like other Ming literati from Suzhou, Wu Kuan's calligraphy was influenced by Northern Song (960–1127) models. With its fleshy, modulated brushstrokes and squat characters, Wu's writing style follows that of the poet-calligrapher Su Shi (1036–1101). Wu accompanied this poem with a brief account of the circumstances under which it was created: "On the evening of the twenty-eighth of the fifth month [June 17], it began to rain after a long drought. I was collating Bo Juyi's [772–846] works and had just come to the poem 'Joyous Rain.' Following its rhyme, I composed a poem to express my own joy."