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 《廿一世纪中国诗歌》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 每日一首

Wednesday Afternoon Tea

  • by Liu Yali

  • Wednesday afternoon,
  • I drank four cups of tea
  • and dozed off three times.
  • It is called Spring Blossom green tea;
  • it tastes a little bitter.
  • Wednesday afternoons, I join colleagues
  • around a round table to drink tea.

  • Tea does not detoxicate,
  • or purify the mind;
  • Spring Blossom Tea is kept in a tea-tin,
  • until it loses all human touch.
  • It is served at every single weekly meeting,
  • meetings so serious they resemble
  • newspaper text ‘set solid’.

  • Wednesday afternoons
  • are not tile-roof, paper-window afternoons.
  • They are not clear-spring, pottery-and-china afternoons.
  • I join my colleagues in a cup of strong tea.
  • We drink alone, in the meeting room,
  • and become a flock of wooden chickens.

  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 5