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 Shepherd

  • by Jing Qiufeng

  • By a clear stream, fall grasses look forlorn.
  • A month into winter, you still herd the sheep,
  • sometimes behind, sometimes ahead of them.
  • This flock account for half of your livelihood,
  • to pay for medicine for your wife and education for your son.

  • You handle each one with a personal touch;
  • some you call by name like father to children.
  • Occasionally a few fall ill or give birth,
  • they are practically your sons and daughters then.

  • Snowy days are here again, large snowflakes
  • falling on your shoulders and on the sheep.
  • A complete white-out, a silvery, frosty world.
  • You and your sheep move like transient snow;
  • no grass in sight for the flock and no path for you.

  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 5