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 Wall

  • by Gao Pengcheng

  • I am not alluding to the body and flesh of a generation,
  • but only talking about some place that looked like someone’s undecorated room.
  • That was the year when I visited a remote schoolhouse in the countryside.
  • On one flaking wall, the red slogan “Long, Long Live…!” was still visible,
  • almost like the branding iron on the skin of a whole generation of people.
  • The sun was particularly soothing on that end-of-April day,
  • but the red paint had seeped through the earthen wall.
  • I couldn't tell if this wall separated the two existences of a man,
  • neither was I sure whether his heart resembled this bare room with such gloomy light–-
  • a wall covered with old newspapers, a certificate of merit,
  • two discolored movie posters for the movie Red Peonies,
  • and an outdated Christian calendar.

  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 1