To provide some added insight into the life of Li-Young Lee, I would like you to please consider the following brief biography as depicted on BOA Editions website:

“Li-Young 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 the Lee family traveled throughout Hong Kong, Macau and Japan, until arriving in America. Li-Young Lee’s first poetry collection, Rose, won the New York University’s 1986 Delmore Schwartz Memorial Poetry Award.”

According to American poet Gerald Stern, Lee’s “rose becomes not something to stare at, but to consume. The rose, which is history, the past, a “doomed profane flower” to be adored and destroyed. To be eaten. Like the speaker.”

Lastly, from a review by poetry editor Rochelle Ratner: “In this outstanding first book of poems, Lee is unafraid to show emotion, especially when writing about his father or his wife. Lee’s silent willingness to step outside himself imbues Rose with a rare sensitivity. The images Lee finds, such as the rose and the apple, are repeated throughout the book, crossing over from his father’s China to his own America. Every word becomes transformative, as even his father’s blindness and death can become beautiful.”

For your 1000 word written analysis, please consider the relationships and themes that dominate Rose. Please choose at least five poems for your analysis and include brief quotations of verse. When you type the line of verse into your analysis, please note the poem’s title and page number.

Please include an introduction and conclusion. In your introduction, state a thesis that defines (in your own heart and mind) Lee’s theme on relationships and relating. In your conclusion, I would like you to reflect on your own personal feelings/reactions to Rose.

Most of your analysis should be “analysis,” so keep the quotes to a minimum!!! Your grade will be based on the thoroughness of your writing, the strength of your quotes/examples, and your thoughtfulness and openmindedness!

You may write more than the 1000 word minimum, but please make sure your quotes do not make up more than 20% of your overall word count. Good luck and enjoy!

Please note:

  1. Break up your ideas into multiple paragraphs. The general rule is to keep one idea per paragraph, so essays written with very few paragraphs will be marked down. Please make sure your paragraphs are well-developed – at least 5-6 sentences long. Add a transitional phrase at the beginning of each paragraph.
  2. When you quote, please use MLA citation style. Use quotation marks and cite the source at the end of the sentence.
  3. Make sure that your quotes make up less than 20% of your word count!
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