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》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 of the day 一日一首

Distance from the World

  • by Luo Ying

  • By the sea tonight, I ponder my distance from the world.
  • To conduct a survey, my eyes follow the reflections
  • of the stars as they drift farther out to the sea,
  • but they surprise me by rushing back like a school of fish.
  • In fact I would rather they turn into water chrysanthemums.
  • Everybody seems to be chatting, singing
  • or perhaps reading poetry, but I can’t really hear them,
  • perhaps I am only as good as blind when surrounded by darkness.
  • Fortunately cold waves begin to reach me little by little,
  • and I open my mouth hoping the sea breeze will pass through.
  • Suddenly I begin to think about the deserts I crossed, the mountains I climbed,
  • and feel an urge to be embraced by the sea,
  • to be embraced by someone like my mother used to do.
  • Empty seashells, looking like dry leaves or lackluster stars,
  • churn in the restless sea.
  • A beached fish flips up, fortunately no seagulls are nearby.
  • A line of footprints march out to the depths of the sea,
  • for them I map out a constellation chart to aid their return.
  • Just then, I see lilies emerge from the surface of the sea,
  • one by one, pale and silvery.

  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 11