Famous American poet Li-Young Lee will be performing at Greensboro College on Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. Lee will be accompanied by David Whetstone on sitar. The performance is free to students and a limited number of tickets are also available for purchase by those who are not students.
Lee was born in 1957 to Chinese parents in Indonesia. His father had been a doctor to Mao Zedong but the family relocated to Indonesia. Soon, Indonesia became hostile to Chinese immigrants and the family was forced to relocate once more, resulting in a five-year journey through Asia including through Hong Kong, Japan and Macao. Finally, the family settled in the United States in 1964.
Lee attended several schools for college, including the University of Pittsburgh, University of Arizona and the State University of New York at Brockport. He then went on to teach at several universities. His works of poetry include “The Undressing,” “Behind my Eyes,” “Book of My Nights,” “The City in Which I Love You” and “Rose.”
His work was described by poet Gerald Stern as having “a certain humility … a willingness to let the sublime enter his field of concentration and take over, a devotion to language, a belief in its holiness.”
Lee has also received many notable awards for his work, including the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Poetry Award for “Rose” and the 1990 Lamont Poetry Selection for “The City in Which I Love You.”
In preparation for Lee’s visit to Greensboro College, the editorial board for The Lyre and its faculty advisor, Dr. Wayne Johns, will be hosting a book club in the Global Communication Center which will be reading Lee’s book of poetry entitled “The Undressing.” There will be four meetings: Oct. 1 and Oct. 22 at 11:45 a.m.-12:40 p.m. and Oct. 9 and Oct. 16 12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m.
“The goal is to read and discuss a new book by a living poet and to get people excited about Lee’s visit,” says Dr. Johns. “He’s literally world-renowned, but since most artists and writers are famous to other artists and writers we have to explain to people that he is (and why he is) important.”
The meetings are open to all Greensboro College students and free lunch will be available. A limited number of copies of the book will also be available for free for those who do not own a copy, but supplies are limited. Guest speakers will lead discussion of the poetry, including Dr. Dan Maltoky who will discuss the spiritual and religious aspects of Lee’s poetry.
By Tess Perdue