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 geographical areas.
Poem for the day
For the Heck of it
- by Li Wei
- Lining both sides of this alley
- are either eateries or grocery stores.
- Away from the area lit up by the shops,
- shadows occupy the edge of the street,
- and one can hear the groans of pedestrians
- in twos or in threes
- as they cross the street.
- Suddenly, for the heck of it,
- they take a straight shot
- and their slim shapes collide
- with a beam from a headlight.
- They’ve gone across
- and melted away on the other side,
- like headlamps
- vanishing in the distance.
- Farther away there is nothing but fog,
- maybe near a wide river;
- as to where the river is,
- no one knows
- and no one cares.
- from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 3