Saturday, August 11, 2007

Home from Guatemala and I receive a postcard from Li-Young Lee

Li-Young Lee is perhaps the single most influential poet/spirit on my writing. I have written elsewhere about how remarkable an achievement I consider the first poem ("Furious Versions") from his second book to be. You can imagine, then, how thrilled and truly honored I was to receive a letter from him upon our return from Guatemala on Thursday night. He gave me this blurb, for which I am deeply and sincerely grateful (as I have written to him in a return letter):

On This Many Miles from Desire:

"The universal sadness, almost Sufi-like, and the timeless compassion these poems articulate make it possible for a reader to believe that any "I" must include the whole world, inside and out, bliss and pain, broken and whole. I love these poems."

-- Li-Young Lee, author of The City in Which I Love You and Book of My Nights


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We had a great time in Guatemala. Antigua, despite its growth in the five years since our last visit, remains a magical town for us. We had breakfast each day at our favorite cafe, walked and walked with our daughter (who turned two in July!) as she learned to say hola and negotiate the cobbled streets, and people watched in Parque Central, the locale of great slowness and beauty. I begin teaching on Monday, so hopefully I will have shaken off the dust from the long trip home and regained my teaching mindset.

Hopefully.

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I am looking forward to teaching from, among other books this fall, Allison Jospeh's Worldly Pleasures (poetry), Barry Glassner's The Culture of Fear, and Paulo Freire's Education for Critical Consciousness (critical thinking). If you have taught these books and have any particular anecdotes to share, feel free to backchannel me.

8 comments:

jenni said...

Wow! What a great blurb! I totally agree with him. The poems are so lovely. Glad you had a wonderful time. Sending you blessings.

Lee Herrick said...

Thanks, Jenni. I was really, really floored by it. Blessings in return.

A. D. said...

Wow, I just paged through three of LYL's volumes today—that comment is wonderful.

You are a rock star.

Hyun said...

i can read lyl's words--describing Your poetry collection--again and again and tire of them.

Lee Herrick said...

thanks, thanks! his belief in my poems is a massive gust of wind in the sails, that's for sure. i appreciate it your comments...

Hyun said...

ahh, there should be a "not" in front of tire. i think you probably figured that out, but gotta say it for the record.

powerpolitics said...

You are awesome! Li young Lee is the first Asian American author I ever read and his words still reverberate.

Did you shriek when you read it? I would have shrieked :)

Lee Herrick said...

hyun, i was *hoping* so :)

thanks, pwrpltcs. He's one of the first I began to read closely. I'm not sure if I shrieked, but it was definitely something like that! I think I walked around, pacing for a few minutes and thinking, "oh, this is great." I've still got the postcard pinned up on my wall at home.