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

Essential Matters

  • by Li Li

  • Let me count a few things that I can’t do without.
  • In the past there were letters, so envelopes and post offices were essential.
  • Then, there must be doves, a cool breeze, reveries,
  • and a backdrop of dusk on my way to post the letters.
  • A place to say farewell was essential when it's time to leave home;
  • there was a ticket in my hand, him at the windy train station,
  • tears in our eyes, and the satisfaction
  • running down my body as I turned around.
  • Reaching middle-age, children nearby and healthy parents are dear to me,
  • so are the lovely words on the pages I turn,
  • and the scents of the fruits that he brought to the room.
  • Finally, the peach flowers that bloom overnight,
  • and the lovely apparitions under the trees,
  • they are my folks who departed the world too early.

  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 7