Li-Young Lee

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General Information

Name: Li-Young Lee

Pen Name: None

Genre: Poetry

Born: 1957 in Jakarta, Indonesia


Email: N/A

Illinois Connection

Lee moved to Chicago after graduate school and still resides there.

Biographical and Professional Information

Li-Young Lee is writer and educator. He taught at Northwestern University, University of Iowa, University of Oregon, and University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of advisory board, Poetry Center of Chicago.

Known for his poetry about childhood, spirituality and immigrant dreams, Lee was born in 1957 in Jakarta, Indonesia, of Chinese parents. In 1959, his father, after spending a year as a political prisoner in President Sukarno’s jails, fled Indonesia with his family. Between 1959 and 1964 they traveled in Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan, before arriving in western Pennsylvania where Lee was raised. He moved to Chicago to take up writing after doing graduate work at the University of Arizona and the University of New York at Brockport.

Lee is the author of four critically acclaimed books of poetry, his most recent being Behind My Eyes. His earlier collections are Book of My Nights; Rose, winner of the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award from New York University; The City in Which I Love You, the 1990 Lamont Poetry Selection; and a memoir entitled The Winged Seed: A Remembrance, which received an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.

Lee's honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Lannan Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, as well as grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. In 1988 he received the Writer's Award from the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation.

Published Works

  • Rose, BOA Editions, 1986 - reprinted in 2000
  • The City In Which I Love You, BOA Editions, 1991
  • The Winged Seed: A Remembrance, Simon and Schuster, 1995 - reprinted in 1999 and 2013
  • Book of My Nights, BOA Editions, 2001
  • Breaking the Alabaster Jar: Conversations with Li-Young Lee, BOA Edition, 2006
  • From Blossoms: Selected Poems, Bloodaxe Books, 2007
  • Behind My Eyes, W.W. Norton, 2008

Titles at Your Library

Literary Awards

The Rose

  • Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award, New York University, 1986

The City in Which I Love You

  • Lamont Poetry Selection, The Academy of American Poets, 1990

The Winged Seed: A Remembrance

  • American Book Award, Before Columbus Foundation, 1995

Other Awards:

  • I.B. Lavin Award, 1986
  • Writer’s Award, Whiting Foundation, 1988
  • Illinois Author of the Year, Illinois Association of Teachers of English, 2009

Speaking Engagements and Upcoming Appearances

Speaking Engagement Availability: Yes, Contact:

Simon and Schuster

1230 Avenue of the Americas

New York, New York 10020

(212) 698-7000

External Links

Li-Young Lee on WorldCat

Li-Young Lee on The Poetry Foundation


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