OSWEGO — One of America’s leading poets, Li-Young Lee, will present a free public reading March 2, part of his three-day residency at SUNY Oswego.
The 7:30 p.m. event in the Campus Center auditorium will help launch a campuswide focus on the interdisciplinary theme, “The Arts, Identity and Diaspora” in March.
Born of Chinese parents in Jakarta, Indonesia, Lee learned early about loss and exile. After spending a year as a political prisoner in then-President Sukarno’s jails, his father fled Indonesia with his family to escape anti-Chinese sentiment. After a five-year journey through Hong Kong, Macau and Japan, they settled in the United States. Lee’s reflective poetry often draws on those childhood experiences.
“There’s a tenderness in the poems that squeezes at the heart, while they also satisfy the mind,” said Leigh Wilson, professor of English and creative writing. “What has always struck me is the grace of his line — the sheer beauty of it.”
Lee is the author of four critically acclaimed books of poetry: “Behind My Eyes”; “Book of My Nights”; “Rose,” winner of the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award from New York University; and “The City in Which I Love You,” the 1990 Lamont Poetry Selection. His memoir “The Winged Seed: A Remembrance” received an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.
An open reception 5 to 7 p.m. March 1 Penfield Library’s Lake Effect Cafe will welcome Lee to campus. During his visit, the poet he will meet with students in English and political science and tape an interview at WRVO, the college’s National Public Radio affiliate, for a new series on immigration funded by the New York State Council on the Humanities. Lee also will appear at a College Hour forum at 12:40 p.m. March 3 in the Campus Center auditorium.
Details of Lee’s visit and other “Arts, Identity and Diaspora” programs during March are available at www.oswego.edu/arts. For more information, contact John Shaffer at [email protected] or 312-2960.