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

Founder and Editor
Meifu Wang

Poem of the day 一日一首

My Cousin from the West End

  • by Yuan Shiping

  • I called her my temptress cousin,
  • my tall-slender cousin.
  • She quit school right after junior high
  • and always called a tangerine a dangerine;
  • any objection would only meet with
  • her rolling eyes.

  • Since turning sixteen, she was enshrouded
  • in sheer beauty; beauty was her only costume.
  • To the widower Mr. Wang at the garage and his type,
  • all beautiful women were nude; thus,
  • a sea of erotic waves rushed down the west-end streets.

  • It might be hard for someone to see into the mind
  • of a teenage girl at the end of the century
  • when she walked down with a tattoo and a nose ring,
  • But the truth is that a monk's robe cannot tell
  • when the monk meditates into a trance.
  • Ah, to a wild flower, perfume is such a remote thing.

  • My cousin’s story ended abruptly
  • in a suburb of Beijing. She ran into a truck
  • when dodging a soccer ball
  • kicked by some kids playing on the street.
  • She died a virgin.

  • from 21st Century Chinese Poetry, No. 5