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


  • by Bei Xiaohuang

  • Chancing to query, I give* a try.
  • Just like when lost in the hills, I ask for direction
  • from a wrinkled old granny.

  • One day, I keyed in “Bei Xiao Huang”^,
  • and found a few traces of a man:
  • he has the habit of using a green mugwort twig,
  • dipping it in the moon-lit brook
  • and writing down seductive, inconsequential words.

  • Baidu? When will my inquiry
  • lead me to my moon maiden, peaceful and tranquil,
  • among the rustling reeds at the water’s edge.

  • Ferry? There will come a day
  • when I arrive at the flowery other shore.
  • Will anyone there be gently tapping the keys Bei – Xiao – Huang?
  • Like his name, he still lives quietly in the light of the day.

  • *a search engine
  • ^Bei Xiao Huang, little northern wasteland, the poet’s pen name.

  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 6