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 geographical areas.

Poem for the day

Filling in the Blanks

  • by Chen Guiliang

  • Heaven, you see, is blank, so blank,
  • such a vast.........blank,
  • I wonder what it takes to fill it.
  • It reminds me of Death
  • and the way it is registered on a clan’s genealogy;
  • each entry requires a person to give up his life.
  • On a spring afternoon,
  • my father suddenly passed away,
  • filling a generation’s blank space.
  • I know more kinsmen
  • will fill up the remaining blanks.
  • It won’t take long
  • before I replace these people
  • to become a husband, a father,
  • giving my love unconditionally,
  • and know there will be another
  • who will do as I do ––
  • fill in..........fill in.


  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 6