September 7th, 2007

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Poetry Friday -- Li-Young Lee

 Last week I wrote about reading poetry aloud to my introductory poetry class; this week I'm carrying on. 

It is a truly beautiful thing to see students -- aged 18 to 58 with all varieties of reasons for being there -- close their eyes while sitting in an overly air-conditioned community college classroom to listen. 
They close their eyes! 

I love poetry.

This Wednesday, it was Li-Young Lee and The City in Which I Love You

I read Lee's work because I think it's lush and spare at the same time -- how does he do that? -- and because when you're ramping up to discuss things as dry as meter and ode and quaitrain and iamb, it feels awfully healthy to balance it out with some heart.

Here's one of my favorites:

A Story

Sad is the man who is asked for a story
and can't come up with one.

His five-year-old son waits in his lap.
Not the same story, Baba. A new one.
The man rubs his chin, scratches his ear.

In a room full of books in a world
of stories, he can recall
not one, and soon, he thinks, the boy
will give up on his father.

Read the rest of the poem here...