Being born in the family of immigrants and still staying under the strong influence of his family history, Li-Young Lee became a famous American poet. There is a fact that his grandfather was the first President of China, but after lots of accusations and after being chased by Chinese parliament, Lee’s family fled to the USA. He got his education there and developed in writing. Some critics say that Lee’s poetry is mystical, with a deep vision of this world, of life, of the God’s power. In his poems, Li-Young Lee reveals us such themes as love, family, existence, silence. His works are simple and, in the same time, deep with the taste of complexity. What could they all have in common? Let’s try to analyse poems from his collections Rose and The City in Which I love You.
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First of all, needless to say, that these two collections of poems by Li-Young Lee are saturated with remembrance. His past, his country, father’s fate have never left Lee’s thoughts. The image of his father lies in almost every poem. He is shown as a teacher for his son, as adviser, as a memory. The author’s father was jailed for a long time by Indonesian emperor, even though he was a personal adviser of the great Mao Zedong. Later, in the USA, Lee’s father became the minister. Almost all poems by Li-Young Lee are seeking for the answers of why his father’s life became like that; what was his fate, his destiny. Despite these memories, Lee’s searches are shown with the taste of pure poetic sweetness like in Eating Alone and The Gift, or as a great debt and burden like in his Persimmons and Mnemonic.
Li-Young Lee is the unique and extraordinary poet in American literature. Sensible, touching, sweet, deep and yet problematic, filled with sadness, Lee’s poetry is one of the greatest treasures in world’s literature, too, and one of the greatest examples of how two different worlds, two different cultures can combine and prosper in with the art of poetry.
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