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》is an independent journal committed to showcasing the best of contemporary Chinese poetry. We exist to discover and celebrate poetry and the Chinese poets that write them with the largest possible Anglophone audience.

In the early twentieth century, The May Fourth Movement (1917-1921) launched an era where vernacular Chinese was for the first time accepted as a legitimate poetic voice. This was followed by an outpouring of verse written in 'plain speech' by people from all walks of life in contrast to the classical, elitist poetic forms of imperial China.

A century has now almost passed since these 'new' poetic voices emerged. Vernacular poetry has continued to blossom in poetry journals and in cyberspace.

The editor and translators at 21st Century Chinese Poetry are committed to translating poets from across China who would otherwise remain virtually unknown to Western audiences.

All enquiries, suggestions and corrections regarding 21st Chinese Poetry should be directed to Meifu Wang at:

editor@modernchinesepoetry.com.

Founder and Editor
Meifu Wang

Poem of the day 一日一首

Visiting the Plum Tree on a Snowy Night

  • by Zhang Zuogeng

  • The maiden I intend to visit
  • stays behind the doors of her boudoir.
  • Wintersweet is her name.
  • She used the first snow to nourish her body and soul,
  • let the second raise her tender love,
  • and when the third snowfall arrived,
  • she burst gracefully into bloom.

  • It's as if the snowy night was her premeditated design—
  • a white conspiracy to blot out the sky
  • and cover up the earth.
  • The snowy night was needed for her narrative.
  • Amid the sustained snow, she gave the tree a noble touch
  • and decorated it with her pure affection.

  • O, obscure mystery! O, shimmering flames,
  • how you penetrated the enigmatic snowy night.
  • I seem to have come as the belated fourth snowfall.
  • I float down from the sky with the sole purpose
  • of visiting the plum tree.

  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 1