Happy birthday to the poet Li-Young Lee!
Li-Young Lee was born to a Chinese family in 1957 in Jakarta, Indonesia. His family's journey took him eventually to Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, and then the United States, with time spent in Pennsylvania, Arizona, New York, and Iowa. He has been living in Chicago for some time now.
His books have been deeply influential on many Asian American poets, including those from Laos and in the Hmong community. These books include The Winged Seed: A Remembrance; Behind My Eyes; Book of My Nights; The City in Which I Love You; and Rose. Many of them have received awards.
He holds a Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets, a Lannan Literary Award, a Whiting Writer’s Award, the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award, the I. B. Lavan Award, three Pushcart Prizes, and grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, and the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from State University of New York at Brockport.
I've always found even the brief moments I get to visit with him insightful and constructive to my own poetic process. He has an amazing way with questions that get to the heart of the matter. Be sure to check out his work.