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

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