In 1957, Li-Young Lee was born in Djakarta, Indonesia. His parents derived from powerful Chinese families. His great grandfather was the first president of the Republic of China. His father was the personal physician to Communist leader, Mao Tse-Tung. About half a year later, his family relocated to Indonesia where his father helped found Gamaliel University, a Christian college. There he taught English and philosophy. Soon after, due to Anti-Chinese attitudes, his father was held in a prison for a year. When he was released in 1959, their family went on a five-year journey; moving through Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, and finally settling in the United States in 1964. When they reached Pennsylvania, his father became a Presbyterian minister. Lee’s father tried to influence him to enjoy literature; however, he never became serious about it until he was enrolled in college. He attended, “Universities of Pittsburgh and Arizona, and the State University of New York at Brockport. He has taught at several universities, including Northwestern and the University of Iowa” (Poets.org, 2014). Currently, Lee lives in Chicago with his wife and two children.
As someone reads his writings, you can visualize his memories about his family and home life. He is able to take the essence of love or sadness from a particular moment in his past and pass it to the reader. One instance would be when I read the poem, From Blossoms. As I read it, it felt as if it was a moment when he was a boy. During summer time, he and another person strolled down a road until they noticed a Peaches stand. Rushing over, he tells about how fruitful the farmer’s trees were, motioning to how many peaches there were to choose from. He describes the moment you bite into a luscious...
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...’s work, I feel nostalgic. I am transported to a moment in his past. It was interesting to me in that it reminds me of my past. The peaches, his father’s love, and Lee’s forgetfulness all remind me of myself. He, in a sense, makes me want to appreciate what I remember even more because of his poems. Out of his works, I haven’t found a poem I do not like. His poems never rhymed, they were always free verse. Even though they did not have a rhythm, it read like a story in my head. It is not hard to see his happiness or his pain when you read one of his poems.
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