Li-Young Lee

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Li-Young Lee (born August 19, 1957) is an American poet. He was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Chinese parents. His maternal grandfather was Yuan Shikai, China's first Republican President, who attempted to make himself emperor. Lee's father, who was a personal physician to Mao Zedong while in China, relocated his family to Indonesia, where he help ...
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The City In Which I Loved You
And when, in the city in which I love you,
even my most excellent song goes unanswered,
andI mount the scabbed streets,
the long shouts of avenues,
I Ask My Mother To Sing
She begins, and my grandmother joins her.
Mother and daughter sing like young girls.
If my father were alive, he would play
his accordion and sway like a boat.
The Gift
To pull the metal splinter from my palm
my father recited a story in a low voice.
I watched his lovely face and not the blade.
Before the story ended, he'd removed
From Blossoms
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the joy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
Early In The Morning
While the long grain is softening
in the water, gurgling
over a low stove flame, before
the salted Winter Vegetable is sliced


Jonathan 02 February 2021
Lee's poem is simplistic and passionate. In this poem, Lee explores the experiences of his family. Lee asks his mother and grandmother to sing about China.
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sdvsvds 27 January 2020
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1 2 Reply
logan 29 October 2019
not much about him? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
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David 11 May 2018
What are your poems about.
3 4 Reply
Walterrean Salley 23 November 2016
Great poems! This poet is a true gift to poetry. I've enjoyed those read; would love to stay and read all of them, but gotta move on. Hope to visit again soon. Best wishes.
10 7 Reply
Siobhan Mc Donnell 20 May 2013
Li-Young Lee is a Bodhisattva
26 21 Reply
Amberlee Carter 15 August 2005
Night. Mother wren, soldier heron, and pastor crow were all three waiting for the citizen seed to wake, to rise from his dark bed walking, to speak. The seed lay in a dead swoon. Somewhere, snow fell past a clock, and the seed slept. Somewhere, a man grew a beard and died in his cell, and the seed slept. A woman waited for her lover a lifetime, then swept her kitchen of leaves blown in from seasons upon seasons of trees the man left unpruned, the shears hung to rust in a lower branch, and the seed slept. A city closed its gates. The seed slept. What to do? Fretted mother wren. Stand fast, counseled the heron. The pastor, wise crow, spoke: only a hand can help us, and only a thief. For only a thief will know the way into a fortified seed. But where, asked the soldier, will we find such a hand? The wren looked here and there, in a hayloft, inside an old coat sleeve. The pastor ventured throughout the countryside. The heron guarded the sleeper. One night the crow found the hand lying under a thigh. The hand smelled of oranges and fish, and lay dreaming of oranges bobbing in the ocean, among the wreckage of crates, the fruit nudged now and then from below, nibbled by unseen mouths. The crow scratched a message on the windowsill, tapped on the pane, then fled. The hand, a blind thief, read the pecked sill with its fingers, then lit out after the bird. After many years the bird and the hand arrived where the tattered wren, in a cap of snow, stood by the heron, who wore a shawl of snow across his powerful shoulders. There, said the crow to the thief, and the hand approached the tiny sleeper. Children, I know you wonder how a hand may enter a place so narrow as a seed. The answer is the hand must die. So the hand lay down next to the seed, opened, and the three ravenous birds ripped up its flesh and gobbled up the blood, and put the bones in a sack. Once inside the seed, the thief, who had been blind, could see. He moved toward the heart of the seed, but found his path blocked by a book. Leafing through the book, he noticed many pages missing. Yet, even with missing pages, the book was too large to move, too high to vault, and too wide to go around. So he sat down and began to read the book with the missing pages. Reading first the odd-numbered pages, and then the even, he read out loud, while all one hundred rooms of the house of the seed echoed with the sound of a hand reading. Taken fron the book: The Winged Seed: A Remembrance By Li-Young Lee
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Mark Robertson 28 March 2005
Li-Young Lee is remarkable for his ability to put pain and love in the palm of hand. Many of his works are in major text books for U.SA. high school students. His 'The Gift' is one of the best positive father-son relationship poems that exists in the English language.
53 23 Reply
Jonathan 02 February 2021
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