I love this man's poetry. Very good interview in Poets org.
This is the beginning of the interview...
Tina Chang: In your most recent book, Book of My Nights, night is many things. Night is: "abyss and shuttle," "the silence tolling after stars / and the final word," "all of night / the only safe place," and "All the nights are one / night." Why did you feel a calling to the night as opposed to the day?
Li-Young Lee: It's because I'm an insomniac. In fact, I haven't gone to bed yet. I was up a lot. And, I didn't know this, but I think my insomnia came from trying to quit writing poetry. As soon as I started doing that, I couldn't sleep.
Chang: Why did you want to quit writing poetry?
Lee: It was a weird time. I was involved in a lot of activism, and I came to this conclusion that poetry couldn't "do it." It couldn't change the world, or something like that. I was involved with this group, and we were trying to change the world [he laughs]. It's ridiculous. So I thought I'd stop writing. And I couldn't do it. I started losing sleep and I didn't know why. So I had to find a way to justify my own writing. I was involved with this person who told me I had to give up my poems.
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