THE JOURNAL OF 21st Century Chinese Poetry 《廿一世纪中国诗歌》
is an independent journal committed to showcasing the best of contemporary Chinese poetry. We exist to discover and celebrate poetry and the Chinese poets who write them with the largest possible Anglophone audience.
In the early twentieth century, The May Fourth Movement (1917-1921) launched an era where vernacular Chinese was for the first time accepted as a legitimate poetic voice. This was followed by an outpouring of verse written in 'plain speech' by people from all walks of life in contrast to the classical, elitist poetic forms of imperial China.
A century has now passed since these 'new' poetic voices emerged. Vernacular poetry has continued to blossom in poetry journals and in cyberspace.
The editor and translators at 21st Century Chinese Poetry
are committed to translating poets from across China who would otherwise remain virtually unknown to Western audiences.
Please send all enquiries, suggestions and corrections regarding 21st Century Chinese Poetry
to Meifu Wang at:
Founder and Editor
A NEW SEASON OF POETRY
From 2019 to 2022, our editor and translator team worked in partnership with China's Poetry Journal (诗刊), to bring contemporary Chinese poetry to our readers. Poetry Journal (Beijing, China）was founded in 1957, with an emphasis on the publication of contemporary Chinese poetry as well as classical poetry by living poets. It is the widest-circulated poetry journal in China.
Circulating more than sixty years, the journal has brought together and introduced a great number of poets, reflecting many of the sweeping changes that the country has witnessed over that period.
Read these poems here:
YET ANOTHER SEASON OF POETRY
Since summer of 2022, Meifu has turned her focus to her own poetry, but plans to continue to translate a set of poems by a contemporary Chinese poet every season.
Please continue to visit this website and look through the poems we translated over the years,
or read some of Meifu's poems:
Reading Baudelaire Into the Night
Please stay tuned.
POET OF THE MONTH 本月诗星
Li Shangyu 李商雨
Li Shangyu was born in Anhui Province. He is a graduate of Anhui Normal University, with a degree in Chinese Language and Literature. With his academic study, he developed a deep love for Japanese literature, which has influenced his writing until today. His poems have appeared in numerous literary journals in China. He teaches at Anhui Teachers College.
- by Li Shangyu
- Trees make up the scenary, the dainty nerves of the world.
- Time passes, men depart, and birds fly into the mist.
- Alone in the city, up early, I eat only pickles and porridge,
- in awe of the lush green, the season's quiet composure.
- Last night I recalled Essays in Idleness by Urabe Kenko,
- which by itself called for getting drunk —
- Do you know? A new day has arrived,
- morning and afternoon, the omnipresence of mist and grayness.
- When the wind loves the trees, it moves it like deep ocean.
- When the wind loves a man, oh, he walks out in style!
- Well? Look! See! The hanging bridge arches over men, small like ants,
- as white rain falls helplessly into the river flowing east.
- This is summer, once young, now worn, perfect for a walk,
- and I’ll never again sing songs of righteous ardor
- because I am weary, am done with a certain way of life. Isn't it so?
- Drunk in youth, showy in prime, deep in old age.
- Translated by Meifu Wang and Michael Soper
Read Li Shangyu's poems: Seductive Wind, Unsightly Scenes , and Midlife.