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

Ow, Mama!

  • by Song Yu

  • Ow, Mama!
  • I really don’t like you combing my hair so much.
  • I can’t sit still. Outside, grasses are all sprouting, Mama.
  • You still want to give me red hair ties and green hair ties.
  • While calling me a little spoiled brat,
  • you braided my hair like twisted dough.
  • My comrades in the field are shouting battle cries,
  • Mu Guiying is about to lead the charge.
  • My right-hand man Yang Zhongbao, him, him, him,
  • he waits for me to return like a hero missing in action.
  • Ow, Mama!
  • The peach-wood comb is growing peach flowers—
  • I am doomed to offend with my wild roaming heart.
  • You cannot cure
  • your little spoiled brat.

  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 8