Sky Lanterns brings together innovative work by authors—primarily poets—in mainland China, Taiwan, the United States, and beyond who are engaged in truth-seeking, resistance, and renewal. Appearing in new translations, many of the works are published alongside the original Chinese text. A number of the poets are women, whose work is relatively unknown to English-language readers. Contributors include Amang, Bai Hua, Bei Dao, Chen Yuhong, Duo Yu, Hai Zi, Lan Lan, Karen An-hwei Lee, Li Shangyin, Ling Yu, Pang Pei, Sun Lei, Arthur Sze, Fiona Sze-Lorrain, Wei An, Woeser, Yang Lian, Yang Zi, Yi Lu, Barbara Yien, Yinni, Yu Xiang, and Zhang Zao.
Sky Lanterns also features images from the Simple Song series by photographer Luo Dan. Traveling with a portable darkroom in remote, mountainous regions of southern China’s Yunnan Province, Luo Dan uses the laborious nineteenth-century, wet plate collodion process of exposure and development. In exquisite detail, he captures a rural life that has remained intact for centuries.
The front cover features images from the Soul Stealer series by photographers Zeng Han and Yang Changhong. Together they photographed Landplay, a traditional opera staging in villages in rural Guizhou, southwest China; and Cosplay, a fantasy experience staged by teenagers against the backdrop of the Yangtze River and the fast-developing city of Chongqing. Landplay depicts battle scenes and ancient spirits from Chinese history. Cosplay depicts imaginary characters, mostly from Japanese manga. Both play types draw on an invented world rich in cultural and spiritual themes.
Manoa 24: 1