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 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:

editor@modernchinesepoetry.com.

Founder and Editor
Meifu Wang

A NEW SEASON OF POETRY

After working in partnership with China's Poetry Journal (诗刊) from 2019 to 2022, the 21st Century Chinese Poetry team is progressing to the next phase: 1) The editor, Meifu Wang, will take a sabbatical from translation to work on her own poetry--a bilingual collection titled New and Old Places; 2) afterwards, we will continue to introduce contemporary Chinese poetry curated by poets outside the Beijing channel; 3) we plan to re-print the first 15 issues of our journal, and introduce new issues.

We hope you will continue to visit and look through the poems we translated over the years,

or read some of Meifu's poems:
Dirt Road
Water Droplets
Mountain Crag
To Melville
To Father
Dirge
Reading Baudelaire Into the Night

Please stay tuned.





POEM FOR THE WEEK 每週一首

  

SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLE OF UKRAINE


EVEN THE BIGGEST SNOW IS ONLY A BLUFF

  • by Li Hao

  • Some things have no real means
  • of sustaining themselves, such as snow
  • in face of unflinching spring, when we dream
  • and dream; they eventually waiver and miss their targets,
  • like an empty-headed slippery mudfish
  • that leaves no trace.
  • Even the biggest snow is only a bluff.
  • Not everyone who loves snow laughs
  • a debased laugh, some may hide a rapier
  • beneath their whitewashed hilt, but I am furiously sentimental,
  • and never believe in curses or omens, never
  • accept that snow is useful for cleansing soil.
  • In a world of dust and ashes, not one snowflake is pure.
  • No need for a parade, because a snowflake, if plucked out from the snow berm,
  • most likely will show its tearful past.
  • Big roads blaze into the sky, but trenches choose to lie low.
  • Some flowers are not into fame and fortune, unenvious of those blooming on a pile of dung.
  • There is no daylight between loud crowing and angry barks.
  • Things that look bright can indeed be foul.
  • Trust your instinct. The north wind that you endure over and over
  • is fierce because of its brutal past.
  • It whistles a merry tune, but that may not be its real mood.
  • No need to hold a grudge, in time it will be replaced by the eastern wind.
  • Someday the snowflakes will melt to mud regardless of how hard they cry.
  • Breaking away is by far the best game plan for us this winter.

  • Translated by Duck Yard Lyricists, a group of devoted poetry lovers: Meifu Wang, Michael Soper & Johan Ramaekers
  • Simultaneously broadcast in China via WeChat (微信) by our partner — China's Poetry Journal (诗刊): https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/NDGFlg57EMrZXlko2yt7UA