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

The Poet's Indignation

  • by Wei Xue

  • Previously I thought
  • they took opposing stands only on paper.
  • Their indignation sounded more or less feeble and
  • too weak to withstand any headwinds.
  • Those in power laughed, and the rich mocked:
  • “Let them go crazy.”
  • Their screams were as pale as their complexions.
  • But in fact there are tiny eternal flames in their hearts
  • that still shine with Gu Cheng’s(1) black eyes
  • and Haizi’s springtime garden.
  • There will come one midnight
  • when everyone is awakened by Beidao’s(2) fatal gunshot,
  • God knows who will be the one
  • hanging upside down from the tree this time!

  • (1): Gu Cheng, Haize were two poets who committed suicide in recent history.
  • (2) Beidao is a widely admired contemporary Chinese poet.

  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 1