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 of the day

Married Life

  • by Li Zhiyong

  • When you and I walk side by side, the wind makes our pants stick to our legs.
  • When we do the laundry together, I talk about my childhood,
  • how in the mountains I saw a pair of sparrows,
  • crows the size of a pillow, and a nameless fruit tree.
  • When we embrace, we don't wish to be seen,
  • nor wish a giant bird would come and lift any of our burdens.
  • If it indeed flies by then, it won't want to take us with it,
  • it would rather go to some other people.
  • If it indeed flies by then, we wouldn't have noticed it anyway.
  • When we enter autumn together, feeling the severe cold,
  • we wish to have another two people with us, so
  • the husband also has a husband, the wife has a wife
  • to do the house work together.
  • When we make a meal together, I ask:
  • how about rice tonight? She says, OK.
  • I say, what else is there to worry about? No worries, she says.
  • When we watch TV together, a few times we
  • forget to close the refrigerator door.
  • When we lie down together without talking, in bed,
  • we look at the roof and notice its gentle glow.

  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 11