Poems for the new century

In China, poetry is not a marginal genre.

In 2011, Xi’an poet YiSha circulated one poem a day from various online poetry forums on his micro-blogging account. Under the name ‘poems for the new century’, the project attracted over four million readers. The collection was published in book format, and the project has now become ongoing.

On August 28, the Marco Polo Project will invite Yisha to join in conversation with Melbourne’s twitter poet Katie keys – with poet-translator Ouyang Yu acting as a mediator between them – and discuss online reading communities, serial reading through social media, and poetic possibilities of the internet. A rare opportunity to understand poetry from a Chinese and Australian perspective.

Below is a poem from the first year of ‘Poems for the New Century’, translated on the Marco Polo Project. You might also wish to read the foreword to ‘Poems for the New Century’.

Mary’s love

Mary is her English name, director at my friend’s firm,

An exquisite and enchanting face, faint smell of fragrance

Scent of allure but with good taste. Graduated from prestigious university, elegant.

4-inch-heels, upholds her career

Rise above the others. Working like hell, when wining and dining as well.

Downing glass after glass with no paling face, or force it all out in the toilet once drunk

On she drinks. Until the opponent

Shows sign of weakness. One deal after another, closed right from there.

I admit that I’m drawn to her a little.

Once after drinking, I said to her boss with twisted tongue.

My friend, you’re so blessed to have such a great employee.

Such a beauty, making money for you.

More than an employee of mine, my friend said laughing.

She has been my secret lover, behind her husband’s back.

I can fuck her anytime I want.

Just imagine, such a beauty, working her ass off.

fucks like a bunny, never demands a pay raise,

isn’t it too good to be true?

I was stunned and asked, “how did you make that happen?”

My friend smiled wryly, “no big deal. I just tell her time and again,

‘I love you,’ and she actually believes it.”

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