Just Slightly(微微)

Mellon-sweet fragrance wafts from the mirror

Just slightly

Inside the room life is rotten

No medicament can save those female breasts

Like a pair of injured pistols

Twilight belongs to assassins


The force that turns the air into a solid

Water is hot and fire is deep

Your mouth

Projects a string of fishy bubbles

Just slightly

Objects that are close at hand

Hard, cold, expired

Only your waist and limbs are soft and scented

Like a sick exotic snake circling our bed


Perhaps only an illusion / misconception

Only slightly

Jerusalem is farther from us than Mount Fuji

I have only a feather for a raft



Translator’s Note:

Yang Qingxiang’s poems have garnered critical acclaim for their unabashed portrayal of the crises facing Chinese Millennials today: poor living situation, medical care, education, and chronic lack of sleep. His poems combine these social themes with a deeply personal reflection of national identity.

New Scar Poetry (新伤痕诗)

New Scar Poetry is a concept proposed by Chinese critics in 2017. It has been observed that the contemporary anxieties experienced by the Chinese due to stark economic imbalances and social injustice have caused a recent wave of poets to respond with a new aesthetics emphasizing hurt and healing. The writers of New Scar Poetry are often Millennials (also known as the post-1980s generation in China) born after the Cultural Revolution who grew up in one-child families. They came of age in a post-socialist reality with vanishing safety nets, cutthroat capitalist competition, and growing alienation due to a market and performance-driven world. These have created deep psychological scarring in the writers and poets. Coined in 2017 against the backdrop of global social discontent, New Scar Poetry can be seen as a distinct Chinese way of dealing with the ills of the age, such as the deepening issues of globalization and shifting personal identity.



Yang Qingxiang (born 1980) is an Associate Professor of Literature at the Renmin University in Beijing. He is considered a representative of the New Scar Literature Movement. Yang is the youngest member on the judges’ panel for the 9th Mao Dun Prize, the most important literary award in China. His first poetry collection has sold more than ten thousand copies, making him one of the best-selling poets of the Chinese millennial generation.


Frank F. Zhang is a chemist and translator. He received his BA in English from Shanghai Normal University and MS in Chemistry from Ohio University. He has worked for both Chinese and American chemical companies. In his free time, he enjoys classical music and traveling around the globe.



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