The journal of21st Century Chinese Poetry 《廿一世纪中国诗歌》is an independent journal committed to showcasing the best of contemporary Chinese poetry. We exist to discover and celebrate poetry and the Chinese poets that write them with the largest possible Anglophone audience.
In the early twentieth century, The May Fourth Movement (1917-1921) launched an era where vernacular Chinese was for the first time accepted as a legitimate poetic voice. This was followed by an outpouring of verse written in 'plain speech' by people from all walks of life in contrast to the classical, elitist poetic forms of imperial China.
A century has now almost passed since these 'new' poetic voices emerged. Vernacular poetry has continued to blossom in poetry journals and in cyberspace.
The editor and translators at 21st Century Chinese Poetry are committed to translating poets from across China who would otherwise remain virtually unknown to Western audiences.
All enquiries, suggestions and corrections regarding 21st Chinese Poetry should be directed to Meifu Wang at
Founder and Editor
Poem of the day 一日一首
On Love Fantasy of the Lowest Kind
- by Wang Jiming
- It happened only once, before I was 50 and can never be repeated again,
- when I indulged in an unspeakable pleasure for two years
- ---carnal pleasure, pure sensual pleasure--
- not only in luxury hotels, sometimes
- in cheap hourly rooms or in even darker corners, too.
- It happened not only at night, even more often on springtime mornings.
- Whenever my body felt tormented by desires,
- I would squander away what treasures people were eager to have
- just to indulge myself for one moment---
- making sure the shades of the curtains and the bed sheets,
- the brightness of the lamps and the ambiance were just right.
- I indulged in living and couldn’t care less about what life was for.
- Of course, what I did violated the codes of conduct
- of my countrymen and would be condemned if known.
- Even though it began with love, our love had no future.
- Still, I let my body and soul enter yours,
- my lips pressed on yours, soon
- all was obliterated and nothing else mattered anymore,
- including writing and reading
- until one day I was bored with it. So, not long ago,
- I curbed my shameful, violent libido
- and found another way to channel my desires.
- Otherwise, who knows what would have happened to me,
- probably destroyed, completely destroyed!
- Only if I were sufficiently restless, talented and idle,
- would I publicize our secret pleasure of those years
- --- in poetry or another art form ---
- I feel a new round of desires springing up in me --
- yesterday I passed by the pleasure house where
- we made love again and again, and all day I was absorbed
- in the memory and couldn't think or accomplish a thing.
- So when the night quieted down, I drew your beautiful nude body from memory
- on a large piece of paper
- and stared at it with my sleepy eyes until dawn.
- My head was wrapped in the heat of our entangled bodies,
- the apple scent of your hair, your silky skin and almost perfect curves,
- your magical hands, lips and tongue, my desperate climax and blissful despair, in and out,
- ---the pleasure of our love was so unique, and like a daze
- we couldn’t help but returning to it again and again.
- We even wrote it into our will----
- It’s time for me to open the hidden envelope while we are still in this world.
- Let me try to tell it under broad daylight.
- Evoking the power of my desires and the ability for graphic fantasies,
- I will reshape our bodies into youthful strength and beauty,
- but how I worry that I am so inept at poetic artistry
- that our enduring love, our secret love would be reduced to something
- beneath the dignity of our souls.
- from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 2