The Poetry of Li-Young Lee

435 Words2 Pages
The Poetry of Li-Young Lee Many have enjoyed the poetry of Li-Young Lee and his books of poetry have won many awards. So what makes his poetry so different? What makes his poetry so unique? Lees' definition of poetry would be that poetry is the inner voice written on paper. It is all ones experiences, memories and inner thoughts that make us individuals and interesting to one another and by writing them down for others to experience, is poetry. Lees' poetry takes on its own unique style as most poetry does for each individual poet. This overall style is the due to the combination of subject, tone and texture in Lees' poetry. The subject in lees' poetry is based on his relationships with the people in his life, mainly his father. In many of his poems, Lees' demanding yet tender father is either the subject or in some way an influence seen in the poem. In the poem "Mnemonic", Lee writes about his father and his demanding yet tender ways. Two lines in the poem read, "My father loved me. So he spanked me, / It hurt him to do so. He did it daily." This type of relationship between father and son is common in American society and especially in Asian families. This commonality that Lee has with his readers allows the reader to further understand Lees' experience with his father, while also allowing them to re-experience their own. Poems like "The Gift", "Eating Together", and "A Story", are all prime examples of lees' writings about his preferred subject, his personal relationships. The first two poems, being about his experiences with his father with respect to other family members, and the later about his own experience as a father with his son. Because his subject of choice is his own relationships, the tone in Lees' poetry is that of mellow remembrance and recollection. Lees' careful selection and crafty usage of words, allows the reader to experience the emotion that Lee himself had felt throughout the poem and the experience itself. One example of Lees' tone in his poetry is seen in the poem, "The Gift", where Lee writes about an experience with his father. He writes, "And I recall his hands, / two measures of tenderness / he laid across my face, / the flames of discipline / he raised above my head.
Open Document