These are unusual times. These poets are tale-tellers of their world.                  (All rights reserved.)
ISBN 978-1-939426-13-0
21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 12 (APR 2014)

This issue features the poetry of Yang Yang 阳飏 ,Chen Min 陈敏(陕西),Zhang Fanxiu 张凡修 ,Ren Lin 人邻 ,Liu Nian 刘年 , WeiWei 围围(傅正洪).

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Yang Yang 阳飏

Chen Min 陈敏

  • The Place Called Home  |  家 园 (组诗)
  • ....Southern Shaanxi  |  陕 南
  • ....Tea Town  |  茶 乡
  • ....Daughter of Southern Shaanxi  |  陕南女
  • ....Old Farmer and Ox Walking Down the Hill  |  走下山坡的老农与牛

Zhang Fanxiu 张凡修

  • Painted Vase  |  画 瓶
  • Passing Through  |  穿 越
  • Last Ear of Corn  |  仅剩一株玉米

Ren Lin 人邻

  • Good Night (Excerpts)  |  晚安(组诗,节选)
  • ....Good Night  |  晚安
  • ....Temple of Bitter Orange  |  臭橘寺 |
  • ....Mu Xi’s   |  牧谿的《六个柿子》|
  • ....Journey through the Northern Plain  |  华北平原上的行旅
  • ....Sunset  |  太阳落下
  • ....Big River  |  大河
  • ....Fish, Potatoes, Figs, and Spring Water  |  鱼、土豆、无花果和清泉水
  • ....Greens for Field Mice  |  菜叶和田鼠

Liu Nian 刘年

  • At Qokang Monastery  |  游大昭寺
  • Old Flower Tract  |  老花铺
  • Moon Over Hongs’ Camp  |  洪家营的月亮
  • Letter to My Son, Liu Yunfan  |  写给儿子刘云帆
  • The Ruin  |  废墟
  • The Yellow River  |  黄河
  • Xiaoxiu  |  小秀

WeiWei 围围(傅正洪)

From 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 12

  • A big place for the emperor—
  • a moat for boating, Tiananmen Gate for riding a horse.
  • The horse ran away, returning in its place
  • was an iron horse, no alfalfa needed.
  • At that time, the last emperor was still a kid,
  • the clanking train puffed out black smoke,
  • dragging a decaying empire with it into the sunset.
  • — Yang Yang, Tianjin: My Ancestral Home

  • Come, pound on my chest, loud and hard, as you would on the mountain,
  • and drown out the professor’s tiresome voice,
  • his tedious lecture on aesthetics,
  • and the quotes such as “Quack! Quack! Cry the fish hawks”.
  • Come, sing a song to light up my day;
  • send me to the sky with a cheerful tune.
  • Yeah, sing a tea-picking song, no need for a cantata,
  • and as you smile, your cool eyes turn into two small boats, rock and rock,
  • looking at the world, looking at
  • me…
  • — Chen Min, Daughter of Southern Shaanxi

  • People fuss about a mosquito’s high whine
  • but ignore the buzz of the cicada.
  • The deed accomplished by the peculiar vocal chords
  • is also called passing through.
  • .
  • One sleepless man imagines being a tree,
  • trunk and limbs ransacked by low hums,
  • skin bitten into clusters of bumps
  • spreading over his leaves.
  • .
  • This usually easygoing sleepless man becomes anxious:
  • there is no one to testify his passing, through the mystic ––
  • — Zhang Fanxiu, Passing Through

  • The temple’s gate is shut. Behind the closed wooden panels
  • lies emptiness, and someone is mumbling to himself:
  • Leave me be, alone for a slumber, in this empty house.
  • .
  • He can’t smell them,
  • but imagines there are orange groves nearby
  • with rotten oranges drying in the wind,
  • and the scent of the monk,
  • and the oranges awakened by the wooden fish,
  • and the universe that is one and all.
  • .
  • He secretly laughs at his secret thoughts,
  • all very quietly:
  • those useless oranges, those most useless monks.
  • .
  • Most useless monks, he is pleased with the idea—
  • yes, useless, but how marvelous.
  • — Ren Lin, Temple of Bitter Orange

  • Those who write about money and palaces can do the same for haystack, too.
  • From the top of a haystack, one sees hometown, crows, and decay;
  • therefore I will rename the golden evening breeze SORROW.
  • .
  • And the crow, that is now stretching its wings and breaking its silence,
  • I will rename it HOPE.
  • — Liu Nian, The Ruin

  • but I believe
  • these are all, in part, religious rites.
  • They always drink from the same water,
  • are born, and live and die on the same mountain.
  • Their ewes come in heat punctually on First of Winter,
  • and they mate most resolutely.
  • I have never seen the red mountain sheep,
  • but I have heard that they fear a lump of iron
  • the way people fear the god of the plagues.
  • — WeiWei, Red Mountain Sheep