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

An Epitaph

  • by Xin You

  • Here lies an untiring minstrel.
  • Invariably he carried his heart around, singing everywhere he went.
  • At present, he’s asleep with ten volumes of poetry
  • under his pillow.

  • In his writing, he took great pains
  • to sing the praises of stones —- the obstinate ones
  • with rough edges, contending with wind and gale.

  • In his verses, he liked to write about weeds,
  • the weeds trampled on by animals,
  • and those nibbled and gnawed by birds and beasts.
  • In the rain, the plants raised their heads high.

  • In addition, he more than once
  • described wild flowers, plain wild flowers
  • and gorgeous wild flowers of all varieties.
  • He picked the prettiest one by hand
  • to take home to be his bride.

  • In his remaining writings, he cursed in the name of conscience.
  • He cursed the dark nights
  • and the men and things as dark as those nights.

  • He offended quite a few people, therefore didn’t have a good reputation.

  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 1