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

A Petite Flower in Taer Monastery

  • by Hu Yonggang

  • In the low ground, even lower, I saw a petite flower.
  • Its head comes out of dense grass, quietly approaching the sunlight,

  • and its golden tendrils, resting on the leaves, dazzle in the sun.
  • It bends menially in the wind as if a pilgrim is giving greetings.

  • It has a dream unknown to all, hidden under tall grasses,
  • but each time a wind blows by, the little flower sees its innermost self.

  • Walking by the petite flower, I feel curiously calm.
  • Dewdrops moisten my garment, my inner emptiness and loneliness.

  • Afar, a prayer in the snow sways his praying wheel,
  • then prostrates lower than the flower, like the wild grass on the plateau.

  • In this vermillion monastery, flowers are the most touching sight,
  • and no passage in the sutra is more vivid than the mutual dependence of two hearts.

  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 1