Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Featuring Li-Young Lee, Asian American poet
Li-Young Lee was born in Djakarta, Indonesia in 1957, the son of exiled Chinese parents. His mother came from a noble family; her father, Yuan Shi-kai, was the first president of the Republic of China. On the other hand, Lee's father, Lee Kuo Yuan, came from a family of gangsters and entrepreneurs. Their marriage received official disapproval; moreover, Lee Kuo Yuan attached himself to a nationalist general in the Chinese civil war. During the course of the war, the general switched sides and Dr. Lee found himself in the position of personal physician to Mao Tse-tsung...bio continued here. The photo is also from this site.
The following poem, one of my favorites can be found on the Moonrabbit Blues site, one which features Asian American poetry, as well as in his book.
I've been a fan of Li-Young Lee since I read his first poem. I have the book, Rose, and would highly recommend it. There is a gentleness about Li-Young's poetry and a poignancy that makes something sigh deep inside of you, reading it.
in Rose, by Li-Young Lee
Boa Editions, Ltd.
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.
From laden boughs, from hands
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
(I'm curious. If you were to feature a poet, whom would you choose? Michael Parker has introduced me to two excellent poets on his blog. I'm always looking for more)