Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Feb. 21, 1997

Poet kicks off reading series

by Linda Charles
"Out of Exile: A Poet's Journey Home," the first session of the spring reading series, will feature poet Li-Young Lee, Chicago. The reading will begin at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, in the Memorial Union Sun Room.

Lee was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Chinese parents. His father was a physician to Chairman Mao in China, and later, an adviser to President Sukarno in Indonesia. In the late 1950s, public sentiment turned against the Chinese in Indonesia, and Lee's father was imprisoned in 1958. The next year, his family fled the country, traveling throughout Asia for five years and then emigrating to the United States.

Lee's third book, The Winged Seed, chronicles his father's imprisonment and his family's flight to the United States, as well as his return, as an adult, to Indonesia and China.

His first book, Rose, received the 1986 Delmore Schwartz Memorial Prize, and his second book of poems, The City in Which I Love You, received the 1990 Lamont Poetry Prize. His work has been published in numerous journals, including the American Poetry Review and Triquarterly. His work also has been featured in two Bill Moyers' PBS specials, The Power of the Word (1988) and The Language of Life (1995).

In addition to the evening reading, Lee will visit classrooms and attend luncheons with students. He also will talk about his craft from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in 212 Ross.

All events are free and open to the public. The reading series is co-sponsored by the creative writing department.

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