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

Cliché

  • by Rong Rong

  • A man and a woman—
  • it's like a traffic accident
  • between an old car and an even older car.
  • The old street had been rerouted,
  • so they met at the new freeway exchange one day.
  • During a traffic jam, they collided
  • — he and she —
  • like two vehicles.

  • Their promises are the first to be broken,
  • but lies will live another day
  • but with growing disappointments.
  • The sky looks shattered through the windshield,
  • and dealing with loss will devour half of the spring.
  • In the dark, secrets and pangs of desire
  • all come to surface, again and again.
  • Who knows how to navigate the maze of traffic rules?

  • It hurts because of their commitment,
  • but once again it proves the weakness of the will.
  • After one bloody injury: from the nerve ends to the brain,
  • even the flesh contracted anxiety disorder.
  • Speeding, red lights, one-way streets, traffic tickets—
  • a love affair has become a mad maneuver—
  • no ambulance but time can come to their rescue.

  • They are two survivors.
  • Can he realign?
  • Can she forget the nagging doubts about the car’s reliability?
  • She has become the most careful driver,
  • worried about wrecking her second-hand car.

  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 3