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.

All enquiries, suggestions and corrections regarding 21st Chinese Poetry should be directed to Meifu Wang at:

editor@modernchinesepoetry.com.

Founder and Editor
Meifu Wang

Poem of the day 一日一首

January (or An Evening of Reading)

  • by Chen Yanqiang

  • Entering December*,
  • the whole country is on the move.
  • Spring will be delivered to every household.
  • Migrant workers are all going home;
  • beautiful women show up on the streets
  • beneath coverings of wool or down,
  • their heartbeats no longer visible.
  • People are everywhere, shopping for the New Year.
  • I only realized that the year was coming to the end
  • when I flipped the calendar the other day.

  • This is an era of clanking golden coins,
  • and my leaden fatigue has turned beast,
  • sick of the altered lifestyle and gloomy overhang.
  • Right now, the night is getting deeper
  • and feeling even quieter than my loneliness,
  • so I huddle by the electric stove in my inhospitable living room
  • and open People’s Literary Journal that just arrived.
  • I begin to read Factory Girls by Zheng Xiaoqiong
  • and slowly slip into the world of hell
  • that swallowed up so many souls,
  • so many southern Chinese souls.
  • Suddenly I have an urge to text the author
  • and ask her where she will be on New Year's Day.

  • * Referring to December of the Lunar Calendar

  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 3