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 helped found Gamaliel University. His father was exiled and spent 19 months in an Indonesian prison camp in Macau. In 1959 the Lee family fled the country to escape anti-Chinese sentiment and after a five-year trek through Hong Kong and Japan, they settled in the United States in 1964. Li-Young Lee attended the University of Pittsburgh and the ... more »
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Li-Young Lee Poems
From blossoms comes this brown paper bag of peaches we bought from the joy at the bend in the road where we turned toward
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,
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
Sad is the man who is asked for a story and can't come up with one. His five-year-old son waits in his lap.
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
I've pulled the last of the year's young onions. The garden is bare now. The ground is cold, brown and old. What is left of the day flames in the maples at the corner of my
In the steamer is the trout seasoned with slivers of ginger, two sprigs of green onion, and sesame oil. We shall eat it with rice for lunch,
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.
1. We two sit on our bed, you between my legs, your back to me, your head slightly bowed, that I may brush and braid
Visions And Interpretations
Because this graveyard is a hill, I must climb up to see my dead, stopping once midway to rest beside this tree.
Dreaming Of Hair
Ivy ties the cellar door in autumn, in summer morning glory wraps the ribs of a mouse. Love binds me to the one
This Room And Everything In It
Lie still now while I prepare for my future, certain hard days ahead, when I'll need what I know so clearly this moment.
This Hour And What Is Dead
Tonight my brother, in heavy boots, is walking through the bare rooms over my head, opening and closing doors. What could he be looking for in an empty house?
It's late. I've come to find the flower which blossoms like a saint dying upside down. The rose won't do, nor the iris.
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Edgar Allan Poe
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From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the joy
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