The Lantern and the Night Moths

Edited and translated by: Yilin Wang

the lantern light seems to have written a poem;
they feel lonesome since i won’t read them.

—“lantern” by Fei Ming

The work of Tang Dynasty Classical Chinese poets such as Li Bai, Du Fu, and Wang Wei has long been celebrated in both China and internationally, and various English translations and mistranslations of their work played a pivotal yet often unacknowledged role in shaping the emergence and evolution of modern Anglophone poetry.

In The Lantern and the Night Moths, Chinese diaspora poet-translator Yilin Wang has selected and translated poems by five of China’s most innovative modern and contemporary poets: Qiu Jin, Fei Ming, Dai Wangshu, Zhang Qiaohui, and Xiao Xi. Expanding on and subverting the long lineage of Classical Chinese poetry that precedes them, their work can be read collectively as a series of ars poeticas for modern Sinophone poetry.

Wang’s translations are featured alongside the original Chinese texts, and accompanied by Wang’s  personal essays reflecting on the art, craft, and labour of poetry translation. Together, these poems and essays chart the development of a myriad of modernist poetry traditions in China that parallel, diverge from, and sometimes intersect with their Anglophone and Western counterparts.


Yilin Wang

Yilin Wang (she/they) is a writer, poet and Chinese-English translator who lives on the unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squalism and Tsleil-Waututh nations (Vancouver, BC). Her writing and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in Clarkesworld, Fantasy Magazine, POETRY, Guernica, Words Without Borders, Malahat Review, Room, CV2 and elsewhere. She is the editor and translator of The Lantern and the Night Moths, forthcoming with Invisible Publishing 2024, which features her translations by five modern and contemporary Chinese poets. Yilin has won the Foster Poetry Prize, received an ALTA Virtual Travel Fellowship and been a two-time finalist for the Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC and is a graduate of the 2021 Clarion West Writers Workshop.


“Yilin Wang’s translation is an intensely loving conversation with the poets she considers her zhīyīn—soul friends who know her sound, her song. In her careful, poignant selection and translation, these poets write the music of misty longing. Some search for wisdom. Some yearn for the lost home. Some listen to the way pages rustle, cicadas sing. Some watch crimson dust drift. Some sip dew when parched, dine on petals when hungry. Some marvel under a bright net of suns endless in number. Wang’s earnest, heart-rousing translation shows us how the most ephemeral streak of brightness or sound, like the frail light of a lantern, or the swift flicker of butterflies, is writing and translating the poetry of our lives.”—Quyên Nguyễn-Hoàng, poet and translator of Chronicles of a Village by Nguyễn Thanh Hiện

The Lantern and the Night Moths is a spectacular communion of languages, poetry, and time. Yilin Wang’s translations of Fei Ming, Qiu Jin, Zhang Qiaohui, Xiao Xi, and Dai Wangshu are extraordinary as she courageously traverses the unsayable spaces between Chinese and English with the gentleness and rigour of only the most skilled and loving translator. Erudite and attentive to the granularity of words and things, Wang shows us—with exceptional generosity—the many ways that poetry can reveal, remake, unsettle, seek, survive, and call us back home.”—Gillian Sze, author of Quiet Night Think

The Lantern and the Night Moths, translated by Yilin Wang, is an evocative anthology of modern and contemporary Chinese poetry. This collection reflects the translator’s deep connection to her roots and the universal themes of longing and identity. Through these translations, Wang resurrects overlooked voices, particularly of women poets, and celebrates the enduring power of language and poetry. This work is not just a book of poems; it’s a journey across linguistic and cultural landscapes, offering a poignant look at the human spirit through the lens of the Chinese diaspora.”—Jack Saebyok Jung, co-translator of Yi Sang: Selected Works, winner of 2021 MLA Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Literary Work


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108 Pages
8.8in * 6.0in * 0in


April 02, 2024



Book Subjects:

POETRY / Anthologies




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