The City in Which I Love Youby Li-Young Lee Published 01 Jun 1990
|The City in Which I Love You.pdf|
|Publisher||BOA Editions Ltd.|
Download The City in Which I Love You (2014) PDF ePub eBook
- 1. Register a free 1 month Trial Account.
- 2. Download as many books as you like.
- 3. Cancel the membership at any time if not satisfied.
This Hour And What Is Dead
Arise, Go Down
My Father, In Heaven, Is Reading Out Loud
For A New Citizen Of These United States
This Room And Everything In It
The City In Which I Love You
You Must Sing
Here I Am
A Final Thing
"The City in Which I Love You" Reviews
Because Rose is the first collection of poems by Li-Young Lee, it's only natural to assume that Lee's voice and stylistic preferences would undergo changes as he continued traveling the long road toward scholastic recognition; however, since Rose has gained considerable attention and become so frequently anthologized, Lee's sophomore attempt, The City in Which I Love You, is largely overshadowed. In fact, City seems almost pigeonholed by criticism for Rose, which spends much of its time exploring the author's personal history and categorical placement among other contemporary Asian-American poets. I don't think this kind of socio-economic geo-racial profiling is very helpful or essential to City's poems. Interesting but unnecessary.
Reminiscent of Rose perhaps in its rich yet murky symbolism, City's title poem for example is a new and significant development in Lee's technique--the speaker seems to be searching a dream for meaning, and where the old Li-Young might have simply discussed familial or physical love, the new Li-Young seems bent on trading the familiar small pings of sensuality for the larger pangs of longing. Likewise, he exchanges quiet meditation for a darker sort of surrealism. Through this, Lee seems more aware of the dangers of sentimentality and more intent on incorporating a deeper range of emotions to his poems.
By the by, whether a fan or not, read (or better yet, hear him read) "The Cleaving." It is an amazing piece of work.
There were two poems in this small collection I did not love and all the others I loved deeply, especially the title poem, 'A Final Thing', 'Goodnight', 'This Room and Everything in It', the first poem 'Furious Versions' and the final poem 'The Cleaving', which is a kind of hymn to a kind of face, a face like the poet's and maybe like mine:
I would devour this race to sing it,
this race that according to Emerson
managed to preserve to a hair
for three or four thousand years
the ugliest features in the world.
(Of course I immediately had to find the reference in Ralph Waldo Emerson.)
Lee uses tight bundles of perfect words which are such a pleasure to unravel, and a loose easy rhythm. There might be too much fear of death in this collection, but who doesn't fear death? I loved the sense of insignificance ('It was one year of fire/out of the world's diary of fires,') and desperation, and something approaching serenity:
And since we've not learned
how not to want,
we've had to learn,
by waiting, how to wait.
So reading this amplifies my own hunger and begins to console it.
Lee writes about fathers and sons, husbands and wives, political and social turmoil, barbequed pork and duck. He writes vividly in a voice that infinitely relates, even when he writes about things the reader is not personally familiar with. The poems in this volume keep improving until the last poem, The Cleaving. Unbelievable.
This collection of poetry pretty much sums up Lee's beliefs in poetry, especially in lines like this from "The Room and Everything in It":
it had something to do
with death... it had something
to do with love.
In a guest lecture he gave more than seven years ago, Lee said that the only two subjects worthy of poetry are death and love, and this book encompasses poems that split those subjects pretty evenly, even by combining the two subjects into single poems. The book is divided into five sections, some with one or two long poems and others with about a half-dozen. To me, the strongest section of poems is IV, because those are the most complex and, therefore, the most interesting to me.
In fact, complexity rules this book of poems, as each poems leads to a place that the reader is pretty unlikely to guess. I think this is why I like him so much as a poet, because Lee never fails to surprise me with his unusual turns, usually towards the end of a poem. His lines also end in places that at first seem strange but make more sense as one continues to read. "The Waiting," overall, is my favorite poem from this collection.
Lee is always a worthwhile read, and I'm eager to peruse the other volume he wrote that still is waiting on the shelf for me.
I am not a fan of poetry. In fact, I would say that I avidly avoid and disdain all such practices of poetry. If I could destroy one art form in the world it would be poetry. Having said that, however, this is a FANTASTIC read. This was assigned in my Contemporary Literature class and I was dreading it throughout the class until we got to it. I skimmed through it at first... and then it got good. The entire book of poetry tell a full story all together. It is an autobiography in poems. They are not only good as a whole but they are good separately as well. This book is every genre in one, and I loved it!
Reading the Songs of Solomon made the title poem that much more beautiful, intense, lively. I started by dog-earing a handful of pages so I could re-read my favorite, but quikly undid that action due to all of the poems being so beautiful.