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

Discoveries, from A Worker's Notes

  • by Li Sheng

  • That was an extraordinary discovery:
  • it is now apparent to us
  • that it would take over 10,000 years
  • on the fastest modern vessel
  • to reach the Milky Way, which
  • likes to play hide-and-seek with us.

  • We go, ah, 10,000 years
  • towards the first dawn or night,
  • towards the first brilliant star.
  • If the sea must dry up, let it dry up.
  • If stones must crumble, let them crumble.

  • We go, ah, 10,000 years,
  • listening to the river in heaven.
  • On the other hand, we still have dinosaur bones
  • sleeping peacefully under out feet;
  • old memories are being recovered bit by bit.

  • So, go, just go! As early as possible,
  • do not hesitate, and do not forget
  • to take along those complicated human emotions,
  • and the truncated lines and boxes of modern poetry.



  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 13