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 journal of

21st 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:

editor@modernchinesepoetry.com.

Founder and Editor
Meifu Wang

Poem of the day 一日一首

Remodeling

  • by Zhang Zhanyuan

  • Let me extract colors from the four seasons,
  • starting with the first day of spring until winter solstice:
  • green from spring wheat, red from wolfberries,
  • yellow from golden rice, and purple from sweet eggplants.

  • I am now too old to climb a three-foot wall,
  • and age spots snuck up at night to embarrass me,
  • but today I shall remodel
  • and adorn myself with a rainbow.

  • My heart opens up to let in a touch of green,
  • which will soon turn into a spring field
  • for galloping horses, flowers and butterflies;
  • A herd of clouds jostle in the blue blustery sky.

  • Then I will add red to my blood,
  • so it will turn passionately into fiery azaleas
  • that roll like a banner across the hills,
  • where crickets sing under a radiant sky.

  • I will have a handsome plaid shirt made
  • of yellow, purple, and white —-
  • yellow for rapeseed flowers,
  • purple for grape juice from Turan,
  • and white for virgin snow.
  • The collar will be bamboo green
  • and the flowing sleeves rosy clouds.

  • Wind, rain, thunder and lightning,
  • the storm has recharged me,
  • thus I dance like a crane in the clouds
  • and fly between mountains dripping with dew.
  • Who’s hinting at sixty bygone years?
  • Oh, no, fairer to say
  • a tree of thirty rings!

  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 2