Born in Zhongshan, Guangdong Province, Ye Weilian (Yeh Wei-lien), also known as Wai-lim Yip, moved to Hong Kong at the age of twelve. He received a B.A. from National Taiwan University, an M.F.A. from University of lowa, and a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Princeton University. For many years he has been professor in the Department of Literature, University of California, San Diego.
Ye started writing poetry and was active on the Hong Kong poetry scene i the 1950s. While a college student in Taiwan, he was closely associated with the Epoch Poetry Society. He developed his poetic theory, which relates modernist poetry to Taoist aesthetics, in the 1960s and '70s; it was highly influential in Taiwan. Ye is also a prolific literary scholar and translator of classical and modern Chinese poetry