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 quarterly journal of

21st Century Chinese Poetry was founded with the intention of introducing modern Chinese poetry to readers worldwide.

Modern Chinese poetry was born from the broader intellectual movement that took place in China around 1917-1921, known as the May-Fourth Movement; for the first time in history, vernacular Chinese was accepted as a legitimate poetic voice. This poetic movement hasn't stopped evolving since then but only accelerated recently because of the easy exchange of styles and ideas over cyberspace. This is an eye-opening, exciting and even confounding experience for both the poets and the readers.

The editor-and-translator team of 21st Century Chinese Poetry selects some of the best poems written in Chinese by today's poets from all geographic areas.

Poem for the day

Jam Session at the Lotus Pond

  • by Wuding

  • Quickly they flee the sky
  • and come down as heavy rain,
  • falling on me and darkening my sun-bleached jersey.
  • A brood of cicadas sing a red-army song,
  • cheering up the atmosphere of the summer days.
  • The wind blows on, minding its own business.

  • A lotus seedpod sways in the twilight
  • above a pond of gently-caroling leaves.
  • The night before, the fireflies didn't light up,
  • leaving the toads to croak in and out;
  • they sang out of tune, nothing like a harvest song,
  • but the rain kept falling, striking on the rice flowers.

  • It's tempting but too dangerous to look back.
  • The wind is picking up, bending the sunlight,
  • but it cannot move an old iron bloc of days
  • that rubbed against the skin of my tempestuous youth.

  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 8