The Manchu conquest of China and the gradual demise of Ming rule during the mid-17th century caused lasting trauma for many Chinese intellectuals. As part of their emotional response, a culture of reminiscence developed, which included friendly contacts to artists like the oral-performative storyteller Liu Jingting (1592–1674/75), who conserved the past in their arts and their habitus. A rich number of texts devoted to Liu provide insights into the mental conditions of their authors. This article introduces two representative shi poems by Chen Weisong (1626–1682) as well as three ci poems by Wu Weiye (1609–1672), Cao Zhenji (1634–1698) and Gong Dingzi (1615–1673) that set the performer in a direct personal relationship with the authors. A coded subtext is in evidence in all of them, expressing concern for the performer and the poets’ own personal suffering. There are also differences however: Chen and especially Cao, as members of a younger generation, take a more distanced perspective, while for Wu and Gong, the figure Liu Jingting serves as a crystallization point for nostalgic thoughts and thus helps them to come to terms with their past. Such dedicatory texts appear not only to have served communication between poets and addressee but above all between the poets themselves.