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

Mu Xi’s Six Persimmons

  • by Ren Lin

  • Magical ink wash—
  • solid color here,
  • fainter there, and almost clear in other places—
  • sumptuous flesh wrapped in thin skin.
  • These two persimmons
  • are good to go with wine.

  • A lack of color, not at all fashionable,
  • no wonder monks are compared to persimmons.
  • In fact these persimmons are monks.
  • Monks, they do not possess colors.

  • At the end of autumn, the fruit is a little tart, a touch of frost,
  • the way of the monks—
  • ethereal, but not lonesome.
  • Monks, they do not possess loneliness.

  • Even more intriguing is that
  • the stems of the fruits were painted with firm strokes.
  • At the forefront or in the back,
  • the dry stems, felt like burnt ink,
  • look all the more fascinating.

  • *Mu Xi (Muqi Fachang) was a Buddhist monk and painter of Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). His paintings 'Six Persimmons' is housed in Daitoku-Ji temple in Kyoto, Japan.

  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 12