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:

editor@modernchinesepoetry.com.

Founder and Editor
Meifu Wang

A NEW SEASON OF POETRY

We are happy to report our partnership with China's Poetry Journal (诗刊), a bi-weekly poetry journal, the oldest and widest circulated poetry journal in the country.

Every month Poetry Journal's editors provide us a set of poems from their latest publications for our team to screen and translate.

ABOUT CHINA POETRY JOURNAL 《诗刊》介绍


China's Poetry Journal(诗刊) was founded in 1957, with an emphasis not only on the publication of contemporary Chinese poetry, but also the publication of classical poetry by living poets. In addition, it announces poetry gatherings and events across the country, hosts literary criticism, and supports poetry translation. The daily operations of the journal are run by The Chinese Writers’ Association.

Each month Poetry Journal publishes three paperback journals. The first paperback journal is published in the beginning of the month and features poems by established poets. The second paperback is published in the middle of the month and features poems by emerging poets. The third is called The Sage Said, which features poetry in classical forms. The journal also maintains a website that broadcasts all kinds of matters related to poetry development in China; it has an audience exceeding half a million visitors daily.

Circulating close to sixty years, the journal has been at the forefront of publishing modern Chinese poetry, reflecting many of the sweeping changes that the country has witnessed over that period. The journal has also brought together and introduced a great number of fine poets, published a veritable styles of poems, and contributed to the continuous flowering of Chinese poetry.

POEM OF THE DAY 每日一首

THOUGHTS OF FEBRUARY

  • Jiang Shuting

  • February pales in comparison to the imperial canons and edicts.
  • It lacks the fire to rekindle a dead lamp deep in the mountain.
  • Without a word the emperor left the mountain for the bamboo grove to find his true self.
  • He bestows his kingdom to the fox, the fox to the badger, and the badger to the river, so the story goes.
  • But February is not March, we are not enticed to say flowery words as when Spring deepens.
  • Only small beads of light accompany those mending mottled garments as the east wind blows,
  • and young hallway swallows remind people of a forgotten past.

  • February lacks zest, its waters are no match to a crow’s bright daring
  • calls; only the orioles are intrigued by its infinite possibilities.
  • The thin frost lies low, the calligraphy continues to pile up, and the fallen petals are gone with last year’s poems,
  • songs become muddled like horse hooves splattering mud,
  • and the ancient road instigates unrest to remote villages.
  • The sky looks flat, lanterns on the cliff illuminate mountains faraway,
  • but make water nearby look darker.
  • Believe it or not, February looks forlorn, like an orphan eagle roaming barefoot.

  • February perplexes us, there’re longings in the flute's melody.
  • A drifting leaf won’t let go of its desolate homeland,
  • and there is the pain etched on by truthful drunken words,
  • haunting like crickets and tides of time past.
  • The courtyard trapped our years as youth vanished under the roof.
  • My love’s Facebook page reads like a couplet in a dismal Spring, a mirror of us,
  • unreachable are you at the unfathomable night,
  • your sorrows because of my loneliness, amplified by the chill.
  • Oh February.

  • The years pass, February brings uncertain news.
  • As I write, I guess the time you wake up,
  • the time of your return past the midnight hour.
  • Yearning to hear your footsteps as if longing for lush green,
  • eyes hurt in their long gaze. What drives you to exile?
  • Oh, February, you are heavy snow, but will be a peerless beauty in time.
  • Amid unfulfilled dreams, I will be steadfast, reaching the unreachable. Let me sigh,
  • let me remember how water bends, how boulders make hollow sounds,
  • how March brings rain to earth. Heaven will be kind.


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

  • Symultaneouly broadcast in China via WWeChat (微信) by our partner — China's Poetry Journal (诗刊): https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/8AY_kVS_zwb19_VgwX1b_g


DUCK YARD LYRICISTS 鸭先知翻译团


  • Poetry is all about Life.

  • Since the publication of our Number 15, we have experienced a lot of it.

  • Meifu moved from the Atlantic to the Pacific; she opened a business near Seattle, and hosted the Silk Road Artists there; she traveled in China, and had discussions with the editors of China’s Poetry Journal (诗刊)regarding translation.

  • Mike Soper, a co-translator, survived cancer and published a few more books.

  • Peter Micic, another co-translator, roamed China in search of folk music and tea.

  • Johan Ramaekers, from Belgium, a song lyricist, has joined Duck Yard Lyricists.

  • We have all been writing and translating poetry.

  • We have stayed in touch with every intention of re-introducing 21st Century Chinese Poetry to the English-speaking world.

  • 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.