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

Letter to a Friend

  • by Ah Xin

  • Let me tell you about these sheep. In many ways
  • they are like the ocean creatures you know so well:
  • in the benevolence of the creator, they bear children,
  • each has a face of a lad or an old man.
  • These days they are on the hills, a tight flock, a warm flock,
  • with a thin frost on, like a white mountain.
  • Above them are countless constellations:
  • the Bear in the north, the Dipper in the south, the Arabian Aquarius,
  • the Milk Way flowing like the Amazon…ancient but fresh.
  • I set up my tent next to them.
  • My dreams are numerous, too, and each brings its own comfort.
  • Dawn, dripping with dew, floats down to the grassland at the foothills,
  • like an armada of ships sailing towards an unknown sea.
  • As for me, I will return to the city, where
  • my days and fate await me.


  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 6