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 Missing

  • by Yang Xie

  • In this midnight hour, I find you right before me.
  • A most inexplicable shock!
  • Long time no see! We are now complete strangers.

  • When and where did you go missing
  • (Ah, so hard to remember!)
  • all this time before you show up again?

  • You bring to this space an unusual atmosphere.
  • Your demeanor is proud and uncompromising,
  • as if you can’t care less, as if you come from the Wei & Jin Period.

  • My hands are sweating now
  • for I am unable to find a place
  • to properly house you---for which I feel ashamed.

  • But I can’t forgive myself for past mistakes.
  • ---It was only because of a cold spell,
  • I left you buried, gone missing.

  • In this midnight hour, you, being gone for so long,
  • cast a contemptuous look at me; your faint sneer
  • sends a permanent chill down my spine.

  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 1