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 geographical areas.
Poem for the day
Qu Yuan, the Poet ( from Cu Country, c. 340 BC – c. 278 BC)
- by Ren Xianqing
- You were doomed to be ignored by the king
- even though the trickling river
- was able to play the chords of your heart.
- Finally you turned your head and morphed into a fish;
- that might be a blessing
- or did you just declare war?
- You didn't set out to be a writer
- but your lament built a colossal poem,
- lucid, precise, and cool,
- where every word was set to withstand wind.
- Storms and melancholy filled the chasm
- between you and the king's court;
- even the cranes crooned for your despair
- in and out of the ragged reeds.
- Who would be there to pick up the pieces
- when life’s better part was shattered?
- Tired of being the only soul unsoiled,
- tired of being the only sober head,
- you bent your dagger,
- honed for immediate action
- but lying idle.
- Thereupon you gave yourself up
- to become the seed of life
- for generations to come.
- from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 5