Critically acclaimed poet Li-Young Lee comes to campus next week to read from his award-winning poetry as part of the Owens-Walters Reading Series sponsored by NC State’s Creative Writing Program. Lee, who judged the 2014 NC State Poetry Contest, will present awards to contest winners before his reading.
The activities begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 10, in the Caldwell Hall Lounge.
Lee’s great-grandfather was China’s first republican president, and his father, a devout Christian, was physician to Communist leader Mao Tse-Tung. After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Lee’s parents escaped to Indonesia, where Lee was born in 1957. Lee’s father spent a year as a political prisoner in Indonesian jails, and in 1959 the family fled Indonesia and embarked on a five-year trek through Hong Kong, Macau and Japan. Lee’s family settled in the United States in 1964.
Lee is the author of four books of poems, his most recent being “Behind My Eyes,” and a memoir, “The Winged Seed.” Poet Gerald Stern has praised Lee’s poetry for “the large vision, the deep seriousness and the almost heroic ideal” it embodies, and Publishers Weekly extolls the “ringing clarity” Lee uses to excavate and confront his memories.
Lee has won fellowships from the American Academy of Poets, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, as well as the William Carlos Williams Award and the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award.