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

Spring Comes to Tai'erzhuang

  • by Li Yun

  • Tai'erzhuang, Tai'erzhuang, yesterday you saw war,
  • this morning you saw spring.
  • You see, the crabapple trees in Mr. Wan's courtyards
  • are now blooming, white inside, a touch of pink,
  • a serene field of sweet scent and charm.

  • Sweet scent and charm, no end of it, Ah!
  • I am not at all detached from this.
  • Last night I came by to deliver the stars for you.
  • This morning I stayed because of a flowering tree.

  • Tai'erzhuang, Tai'erzhuang, right now,
  • right here, with you, I sing the splendor of spring.
  • War, Peace,
  • Peace, War,
  • they have made me a different person.

  • Tai'er Village, while these blossoms
  • dance around you.
  • I must bear an old sorrow,
  • congealed inside here,
  • congealed within the memory.

  • Oh, Tai'erzhuang, I am not a flower witch,
  • but a woman warrior, born here, now bleeding for you.
  • I hear a low chant in the revolving light,
  • Om-mani-pad-me-hum.
  • A little monk will be coming and knocking on my soul.

  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 8