Poetry in Our Time














ZHANG Zhi [China]



The Mirror Image of Ghost City


Everything begins from mystery

And ends in mystery


Now, the Russian ashes

Has filled

The Gulag Archipelago

In the mirror


In 1996

A bookseller of Chongqing

Has photocopied

The Gulag Archipelago

From me

(Published by the Mass Publishing House in 1982

For restricted circulation

With printing number of 1000)

And has paid me

Six thousand yuan as remuneration

(Whether or not it has been published

There is no knowing)


Six thousand yuan twenty-two years ago

Is tantamount to one hundred thousand yuan


Which means

The great Russian writer

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Has presented me one hundred thousand yuan




I am still buried in the ghost city

Between the lines

Continue to search for the Gulag Archipelago


Coffin lids fill the capital

How many pates are to be cracked?


August 12, 2018



A Leaf Has Kept out All the Winds



For something

A hot quarrel


Between my wife

And me


“Don’t quarrel

You are married

And you should love each other”

My three-year son

Who is doodling

Suddenly says


My wife and I

Face to face … wordless


A leaf has kept out all the winds

January 8, 2014


Fraudulent Claims for Compensation


History runs

Under the wheel of history itself


A shriek


Is merely the conjecture by you


August 13, 2018


Parody of Alexander Solzhenitsyn


We know

They are doing evil

And they know

They are doing evil

They know that

We know they are doing evil

We also know that

They know that we know that

They are doing evil

But still they are doing evil


February 7, 2020

(Translated by ZHANG Zhizhong)


About the author:

ZHANG Zhi, born in Phoenix Town of Baxian County, Sichuan province in 1965, is an important poet, critic and translator in contemporary China. His pen name is Diablo, English name is Arthur ZHANG, and ancestral place is Nan’an of Chongqing City. He is a doctor of literature. He is the current president of the International Poetry Translation and Research Centre, executive editor of Rendition of International Poetry Quarterly (multilingual), editor-in-chief of the English edition of World Poetry Yearbook. He began to publish his literary and translation works since 1986. Some of his literary works have been translated into more than thirty foreign languages. He has ever won poetry prizes from Greece, Brazil, America, Israel, France, India, Italy, Austria, Lebanon, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Japan. His main works include poetry collections such as RECEITA (Portuguese-English-Chinese), SELECTED POEMS OF DIABLO (English), POETRY BY ZHANG ZHI (German-English-Portuguese), Selected Poems of Diablo (Chinese-English), A Jigsaw Picture of the World (Albanian), خُصْلةٌ مِنْ شَعْرٍ عَلَىْ وَرَق (Arabic), collection of poetry criticism entitled Series Essays on Avant-Garde Chinese Poets, and poetry translation A & 1 IS THE FOUNDER, etc.. In addition, he has edited Selected Poems of Contemporary International Poets (English-Chinese), Selected New Chinese Poems of 20th Century (Chinese-English), A Dictionary of Contemporary International Poets (multilingual), Chinese-English Textbook 300 New Chinese Poems (1917—2012), and Century-Old Classics·300 New Chinese Poems (1917-2016), etc.






( Reprint from old kritya issues)





On the other side

of the photograph I write to remind myself

not where and when but who


I am not in the photograph


They left us nothing

to take with us

Only this photograph


If you turn it over you will see me


Is that you in the photograph, they ask me

I don’t know what to tell you


Translated by David Mason & the author









The curtains were raving in the air


Translated by David Mason & the author

[From the sequence The Hidden Appearances]




I work in a factory that makes poems. One day, on the job,

my right hand is crushed between two enormous pencils.


Translated by David Mason & the author

[From the sequence The Facts]




Death is a whore

who takes everyone


Translated by David Mason & the author

[From the sequence Secrets of the Trade]





Still pursued by very ancient stories

from place to place through the streets

going up staircases and ringing

bells that cover up the shouts

of those being tortured not to reveal

the confidentiality of correspondence

on which postage seals bleed

having poured sealing wax on their lips

these offspring of the tribe of mail-carriers

who are restlessly engaged in this relay

of a hand to hand single letter

going round the world to reach

its recipient who is also the sender

before landscapes on stamps

have time to change seasons


Translated by David Mason & the author

[From Letter]



is a Greek poet, essayist, prose writer, and translator. In 2014, he was awarded an Academy of Athens prize for innovative writing and for his work in its entirety. His poetry in translation has been published in leading periodicals and anthologies, such as Harvard Review, The Iowa Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, World Literature Today, and Modern European Poets, and in Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Sweden, and Turkey among other countries. Born in Thessaloniki, he studied and worked mostly in New York, before returning to Athens from Dublin. He has worked as a university lecturer, advisor to cultural institutions, correspondent, and press counselor at Greek diplomatic missions. He has been elected President of the Hellenic Authors’ Society, the principal association of literary writers in Greece.







Kelley Jean White

( Reprint again kritya)



Six True Things About Water




my father was on a destroyer in the South Pacific

he remembered a great storm, the small boat

an acorn in a rocky pool

stirred by an angry child,

the men clinging

to her sides like bugs on a windshield

wiper, the roar

a locomotive in an bank vault

after my father retired he had time, he could spend


in the town library with books

on World War II and naval history

he thought he had identified the storm

he read me a chapter

there is nothing to compare it to





my father’s best friend on the ship was a boy

from Milwaukee

he had never seen the ocean

he could not swim

when they crossed the equator they had a certain


they were thrown from the ship, had to make

it to a ladder

my father tried to take his friend’s place

it was forbidden

the boy drowned

after my father retired he had time, he could spend


sorting through the tiny

brown edged pictures

there was the Chief Petty Officer crowned

as King Neptune

there was his friend laughing

he tried

but he could not remember that boy’s name





my father knew at least 100 trout streams

once he rolled his canoe over

while he dried out by the fire he counted

the trout flies

on his hat band, 47,

on his vest, 218,

in his tackle box 808

when he bailed out his little boat he counted

47 buckets

after my father retired he had time, he could spend



my mother didn’t want to hear the numbers,

things didn’t add up

my father always wanted to run the inland


he wanted to camp along Skyline drive

hike the Appalachian trail

after my father retired he had time, he could spend


planning the trips





money was tight

he sold his little boat,

his little silver

travel trailer,

gave me the tent

I’ve driven Skyline drive

it was beautiful above the Shenandoah River

It was terrifying

my father never drank anything but water,


and orange juice

occasionally a beer

but never before sunset

after my father retired he had time, he could spend


sitting with his fishing buddies

but he never drank hard liquor

he didn’t drink coffee

never had a donut in his life

and men never talk

there is no need to speak by a waterfall





my father taught himself about fish,

about rainbow trout,

brook trout,

brown, and

landlocked salmon

after my father retired he had time, he could spend


researching the biology

of insect hatches,

the lateral line,

the visual system of fish

his legs gave out

he couldn’t hike into the best streams

Trout Unlimited brought in an expert

from Boston

who thought he knew more

than my father





my father drank

from a colored only fountain in Alabama

he stayed innocent

he never learned to curse

in the South, in 1947, he gave his seat

to a Black soldier on a bus

he did not believe in divorce

he never thought you’d leave me

after my father retired he had time, he could spend


worrying about me,

worrying about my children

watching me cry for months

he raised his fist to you

he didn’t believe in violence

he taught me never to hate anyone

he was seventy-three

he didn’t want to live with my failure

didn’t want to watch love

drift into despair


Pediatrician Kelley White has worked in inner city Philadelphia and rural New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA. Her recent books are TOXIC ENVIRONMENT (Boston Poet Press) and TWO BIRDS IN FLAME (Beech River Books.) She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.

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