Robert Beveridge's Reviews > Rose

Rose by Li-Young Lee
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's review
Feb 20, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: search-ohio, finished, best-i-read-2008-edition
Read in March, 2008

Li-Young Lee, Rose (Boa Editions, 1986)

I am a longtime fan of Li-Young Lee's work, but I somehow never got round to reading Rose, his first book, until now. Sometimes going back and reading the first published work of an author is interesting in that you can see how s/he developed over the years (this is reviewer-code for “man, this book is not nearly as good as I was expecting”); such is not at all the case with Lee, whose first pieces are just as polished, professional, and deeply absorbing as his most recent work:

“From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.”
(”From Blossoms”)

Li-Young Lee is a fabulous poet, and if you haven't yet discovered his work, I can't recommend strongly enough that you seek him out as soon as possible. A true poetic treasure. **** ½

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