These are unusual times. These poets are tale-tellers of their world. Their poems are for real people.
  • I'm waiting in the land of poetry. Waiting in hope for its clanging sounds and forceful roaring past! -Ren Xianqing, Issue 1
  • Now we are on board, let's not bring up any depressing topics; no more debates about the pet peeves in those capitalist countries.

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 that 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 almost 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
Meifu Wang



  • By He Bingling

  • One summer, on the way to Swan Lake,
  • halfway there I turned around.
  • I truly knew, at night
  • the darkest lake water
  • would summon you.
  • Those fish, with translucent, soft bellies,
  • lure us towards the lake’s depths.

  • I am a frog being cooked on low heat,
  • Hefei has been simmering in me for the past twenty years.
  • Countless bats fly low in the dusk.

  • Someone, on a balcony, is growing monks cress,
  • collecting its seeds.
  • In that seed is the face of a man grown old.
  • The past, so bitter, so dark.

  • But now, we are in late autumn,
  • and the south fork of Hefei river is slowing down.
  • I once was sensitive as a gypsy crab,
  • tramping along in September plying my trade,
  • no rest, day or night.

  • People find solace and love
  • at the water’s edge. She was nineteen,
  • and here she offered her first kiss.
  • In the twinkle of an eye, a little fish broke the surface
  • and rippled it, shining.

  • She shyly cupped her face,
  • her black hair flowing.

  • Translated by Duck Yard Lyricists, a group of devoted poetry lovers: Meifu Wang, Peter Micic, Michael Soper, & Johan Ramaekers

  • Symultaneouly broadcast in China via WeChat (微信) by our partner — China's Poetry Journal (诗刊):



  • We are happy to report our partnership with China's Poetry Journal (CPJ), a bi-weekly poetry journal, the oldest and widest circulated poetry journal in the country.
  • Every month CPJ editors provide us a set of poems from their latest publications for our team to screen and translate.
  • We call our team “Duck Yard Lyricists”, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Ugly Duckling.
  • We are making efforts that poetry, good poetry, gets passed around,
  • to make sure the fire doesn't go out.

  • Duck Yard Lyricists welcome you to read POEM OF THE DAY.