Written in the explosive productivity of the last months of Sylvia plath's life and published posthumously in Ariel (1965), this poem is both a promise and a curse. The poem articulates the furious despair necessary to commit suicide, combining the need to get out of life with the energy to act on that need. In october 1962 Plath's long-term mental illness, which had led to previous suicide attempts, was compounded by her new status as a woman scorned by her estranged husband, British poet Ted Hughes. Her upcoming death is already in process in "Lady Lazarus," and according to the poem "it feels like hell" for Plath and Hughes both. The poem defiantly speaks of suicide as an accomplishment, something the speaker can "manage" once per decade. The physical person is objectified down to its component parts— the teeth, the feet, the skin. This poem speaks of death as performance by inviting an audience and rejects the idea of suicide as defeat. "Lady Lazarus" uses suicide as an aggressive act or threat of violence not directed at the self, but at whomever she deems responsible for abandoning her to it, including the listener/reader.

one of the most controversial elements of the poem is Plath's use of the language of the Holocaust experience in order to find a context miserable enough to explicate her own misery. The issue for critics is not whether she makes effective use of the metaphor, but whether she has the right to use it at all. For some, the fact that Plath was of German ethnicity, not Jewish, and North Ameri can, not European, makes her flippant references indecent. For others, those facts of ethnicity and nationality are irrelevant: A poet has the right to employ whatever will express what needs to be expressed. Regardless of her debatable right to do so, Plath draws, less than two decades after World War II, on extremely fresh memories of behaviors and events more horrible than mere imagination can conjure. She makes raw use of raw wounds in a poem that needs to be spoken for the harsh diction and clipped lines to do their angry work.

Plath employs a freak-show motif, a step-right-up bluster addressed to "The peanut-crunching crowd." She thus makes a revealing comment about her personal acquaintances, suggesting that they stand around and watch without intervention, that a woman could strip her body off in public (this is extreme striptease) and the mob simply "shoves" closer for a better view. They may think they are seeing a "walking miracle," but the burden of resurrection—and the cost of the poem—is that the Lazarus, the resurrected one, has to face death again. The jaded voice of Plath's speaker is bitingly resentful about being revived and having to do it again, and when she speaks of the cost of intimacy, "the very large charge" for touching her, she knows the price is for the one touched as much as for the one who touches. The speaker's great desire is to be absent from the body, that organism through which all sensation is experienced. Being alive hurts too much, so the Lady Lazarus keeps her promise that "soon, soon" her flesh will be as dead as she is.


Britzolakis, Christina. Sylvia Plath and the Theatre of Mourning. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999. Gubar, Susan. "Prosopopoeia and Holocaust Poetry in English: Sylvia Plath and Her Contemporaries." Yale Journal of Criticism 14.1 (spring 2001): 191-216.

A. Mary Murphy

THE LANGUAGE SCHOOL The writers who emerged in the 1970s and have been identified variously as "Language poets," "L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets" and "so-called Language poets" generally conceive of themselves less as a movement or school than as a loosely knit community of writers who, with a particular intensity from the mid-1970s to mid-1980s, cultivated their own means of literary production and engaged critically in each others' work. Although a diversity of formal and thematic concerns characterize the writings of Bruce ANDREWS, Charles bernstein, Tina Darragh, Ray Di Palma, Robert grenier, Carla harryman, Lyn hejinian, P Inman, Bob perelman, Ron silli-man, Barrett watten, and Hannah Weiner (just a few of the many Language writers who could be listed), in general, these writers may be said to view lived experience more as a construction of language than as a transparent reflection of it. Language writing extends the tradition of avant-garde poetry exemplified by Donald Allen's groundbreaking 1960 anthology New American Poetry: 1945-1960 (see poetry anthologies), which cast a number of poetic groupings (black mountain, NEW YORK SCHOOL, BEATS, SAN FRANCISCO RENAISSANCE) decidedly against the mainstream, or "academic," verse of the time. Language writing also revisits the work of neglected modernists (Gertrude stein, Louis zukofsky, and Velimir Xlebniko, among others) and is often informed by Russian formalist and French poststructuralist theories of language and ideology. Additionally the civil rights and free speech movements, along with the protests against the U.S. engagement in the Vietnam War, provided a stimulus for many of these writers.

While the Allen anthology delineated the major tendencies in avant-garde poetry for several generations of poets nurtured on modernists, such as Ezra pound and William Carlos WILLIAMS, other tendencies emerged on the 1960s cultural landscape that Allen could not have anticipated. The work of Robert creeley and Charles olson became syntactically freer. Ted berrigan led a second generation of New York school poets by using a variety of collage techniques in his sonnets that picked up where John ashbery's "Europe" and Frank o'hara's "Biotherm" left off. objectivist poets from the 1930s either returned to writing poetry (George oppen) or garnered attention after years of neglect (Zukofsky). Jerome rothenberg's anthologies reasserted the importance of neglected modernists and poetries from cultures previously dismissed as "primitive" (see ethnopoetics). Something Else Press, founded by Dick Higgins in the wake of the antiart movement Fluxus, included reprints of important works by Stein (The Making of Americans [1966], Geography and Plays [1968]), and Lucy Church Amiably [1969]) in its catalogue. John cage and Jackson mac low introduced chance-based compositional procedures into music and writing, while performance art (see poetry in performance), free jazz, and the feminist and black arts movements also began to flourish. Such interests worked their way into poetry journals and little magazines, such as Caterpillar (edited by Clayton eshle-man), Joglars (edited by Clark coolidge and Michael palmer, immediate precursors of Language writing who have generally distanced themselves from group alignments), and 0 to 9 (edited by Vito Acconci and Bernadette mayer, whose workshops at the St. Mark's Poetry Project in the early 1970s were attended by several Language writers). One issue of Toothpick, Lisbon and the Orcas Islands, edited by Andrews and Michael Wiater (fall 1973), contained work by a number of writers who would by the end of the decade be known as "Language poets."

In 1971, Grenier and Watten launched This magazine out of Iowa City, home of the country's first creative writing M.F.A. program (the Iowa Writers' Workshop) and thus a mainstream poetry establishment through which a number of avant-garde dissidents had passed. This 1 (winter 1971) featured a cluster of review-essays by Grenier, whose declaration "i HATE spEEcH" signaled an all-caps challenge to a projective verse rooted in speech and the breath (see ars poeticas), while the issue also contained an homage to the recently deceased Olson. Claiming "I want writing what is thought / where feeling is / words are born" (qtd. in Silliman "American" 497), Grenier proposed a poetry of attention to language less as a way to refer to the world and more as a fact of experience in its own right. He also applied such attention to critical writing: His own review of Stein's Lectures in America consisted of 14 quotations from her book, one quotation from Creeley, and only five lines of his own commentary— essentially letting her work speak for itself.

If Grenier's review-essays in This 1 assumed a more critical stance than most of that issue's poetry, language-centered poetries were nonetheless united with the first critical assessment of the writing in "The Dwelling Place: 9 Poets," a special section Silliman edited in 1973 for Alcheringa. Rothenberg, who coedited this ethnopoetics journal with Dennis Tedlock, first put Silliman in touch with Andrews and Bernstein in the early 1970s. This mini-anthology presented writing by Andrews, Barbara Baracks, Coolidge, Lee DeJasu, DiPalma, Grenier, David Melnick, Silliman himself, and Watten. "What connects these writers," Silliman states, is "a community of concern for language as the center of whatever activity poems might be" (Silliman "Dwelling," 118). The exemplary work of Coolidge and Grenier, Silliman argues, "goes after a direct confrontation with language, words," such that "neither the words nor the processes of the poem . . . point out or away from the poem itself" (118). Citing Creeley's claim (as Grenier had earlier) that "poems are not referential, or at least not importantly so," Silliman emphasizes that "words are not, finally, nonreferential"; rather, these writers are interested in "diminish [ing] the reference," "the creation of non-referring structures," the "disruption of context," or "forcing the meanings in upon themselves until they cancel out or melt" (118).

By 1977 a Marxist political orientation (certainly manifested in private discussions and correspondence before this time) was added to the focus on language itself. Steve McCaffery gathered essays by Andrews, Bernstein, Silliman, and himself in a forum on "The Politics of the Referent" for Frank Davey's Toronto journal Open Letter (summer 1977). For McCaffery the referential aspect of the linguistic sign (that is, that the particular word refers to a particular object or concept) is linked to Karl Marx's critique of the commodity fetish: The meaning of words becomes a product that language users consume naively or in bad faith. Writing that thwarts conventional meaning-making processes thus critiques such consumption, turning the reader from a passive consumer of meaning into an active producer of meaning. Another of Silliman's essays from 1977, "Disappearance of the Word, Appearance of the World," extends this critique of reference to the broader historical development of language use under capitalism.

Many Language writers had also by this time converged geographically around key poetry journals and poetry presses. Perelman and Watten moved to the San Francisco Bay area by 1974 (bringing with them the magazines Hills and This, respectively), where Watten's college friend Silliman (who had been editing Tottel's since 1970) had joined forces with Yale friends steve Benson and Kit robinson. The latter's one-shot magazine Streets and Roads, 1974, contained work by many of these writers. shortly thereafter Watten began a reading series at the Grand Piano, a café on Haight Street in San Francisco, and Perelman began a series of poet's talks in his Folsom Street loft. Geoffrey Young and Laura Chester began their press, the Figures, in 1975, and Hejinian began her Tuumba letterpress chapbook series the following year. Each press had nearly 20 titles in its catalogue by the end of 1978, while Watten added nearly a dozen titles under his This Press imprint. Meanwhile a number of writers had arrived in New York City since 1975: Andrews and Lally from a fledgling Baltimore-Washington, D.C., poetry scene, Bernstein (returning) from the West Coast, DiPalma from Iowa City via Ohio. Bernstein began a reading series with Ted Greenwald at Greenwich Villages Ear Inn in 1978, the same year he and Andrews began the journal that would soon name this burgeoning activity.

L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E ran for only four years (1978-81) but served in that time as a clearinghouse of information on writing from both coasts. L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E published no poetry per se. Instead a typical issue might have contained a forum on one or two poets or topics, review pieces on new works that typically eschewed evaluation and became new works in their own right, and bibliographies or excerpts from a wide disciplinary range of recent journals. Although many of the publications reviewed in L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E were hard to obtain even then, the editors offered readers photocopies at cost. With more than 100 contributors, little aesthetic or political consensus resulted. At times lively debates emerged over the value of nonevaluative reviews, the merits of Cage and the artist Marcel Duchamp, and the efficacy of anarchism and Marxism. Nevertheless the magazine gave an appearance of coherence to the group and thus a point of entry for its critics.

The May 1979 issue of the Bay Area newsletter Poetry Flash ran a feature on "L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Poetry" that, in part, charged the group with being overly theoretical, willfully obscure, dogmatic, and elitist. Silliman often became chief defender of the group—and not just in Poetry Flash. In the preface to "Realism: An Anthology of 'Language' Poets" in Iron-wood 20 (1982), Silliman recalled the history of language-centered writing, enumerated the various publications and other activities of the group, outlined the changed circumstances of avant-garde poetry since the 1960s and the shortcomings of the New American poetry, and emphasized the importance of readership, audience, and community. Soon other widely circulated journals began publishing collections of Language writing. Bernstein edited a 50-page "Language Sampler" for the Paris Review (issue 86 [1982]) and a 100-page feature of "43 Poets" for boundary 2 (volume 14 [1985/6]), while Joan retallack contributed an omnibus review of recent Language publications to Parnassus (volume 12 [1984]). These journals appealed to broadly literary and academic readerships and helped Language writing reach new audiences.

Silliman expanded upon his Ironwood defense in the preface to In the American Tree (1986). At more than 600 pages, this recently reprinted (2001) anthology remains the most comprehensive primary source for Language writing, even while Silliman lists, beyond the 40 writers it includes, more than 70 additional writers from whom "an anthology of comparable worth" could be drawn (xx). A year later Douglas Messerli edited the shorter "Language" Poetries anthology for New Direc tions, giving the group its first book-length presentation via a trade publisher with ties to the historic avant-garde of Pound and Williams. These two anthologies sparked a new round of debates, which, by this point, included important academic critics, including Jerome McGann and Marjorie Perloff. The mid-1980s also witnessed the appearance of essay collections by Bernstein (Content's Dream [1986]), Perel-man (Writing/Talks [1985]), Silliman (The New Sentence [1987]), and Watten (Total Syntax [1984]).

Many Language writers continue working today, although the intense group activity has subsided. Perelman's The Marginalization of Poetry has begun the process of writing the history of Language writing; a similar activity has taken place in another form, an online collaborative work called "the Grand Piano" (after Watten's reading venue) by nine members of the Bay Area group. Ann Vickery has demonstrated how many of the issues confronted by Language writing were framed quite differently for women associated with the movement. Bernstein, Perelman, and Watten have obtained tenure-track positions in university English departments, spurring some (including Silliman) to suggest that the original antiacademic stance of the group has thus been compromised. At the same time a younger generation of writers has emerged, in some cases out of the very M.F.A. system Language writing rejected. While their work furthers some avenues of investigation opened up by Language writing, these younger writers are less inclined toward polemic.


Andrews, Bruce, and Charles Bernstein, eds. The

L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1984. Kim, Eleana. "Language Poetry," Readme. Available online. URL: http://hone.jps.net/~nada/issuefour.htm. Downloaded December 2003. Messerli, Douglas, ed. "Language" Poetries. New York: New

Directions, 1987. Perelman, Bob. The Marginalization of Poetry: Language Writing and Literary History. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996.

Silliman, Ron, ed. "The Dwelling Place: 9 Poets." Alcheringa 1.2 (1975): 104-120.

-. In the American Tree. 1986. Reprint, Orono, Maine:

National Poetry Foundation, 2001.

Vickery, Ann. Leaving Lines of Gender: A Feminist Genealogy of Language Writing. Hanover, N.H.: Wesleyan University Press, 2000.

Tom Orange

LANSING, GERRIT (1928-2003) Gerrit

Lansings poetics are grounded in notions of gnosis, magic, and transcendence. For Lansing poetry is potentially alchemical, magically transformative, releasing the self from convention into rapture. He is a difficult poet; critics and peers place his work among the most ambitious and engaging of our time. "The writing/riting of poetry is for Lansing a testing of the human imagination against the creative and destructive powers of nature and the universe," writes critic Robert Baker. "It is the most serious of games and should only be played by those who would risk everything, but for those, there are worlds to gain." Lansing has been associated with poets of the Boston Renaissance—Robin blaser, John wieners, Stephen Jonas, and others who lived in or near that city in the 1950s and 1960s. Robert lowell, Sylvia plath, and other confessional writers dominated Bostons poetry landscape at this time, and Lansing and his associates, some of whom were, like him, much influenced by Charles olson, explored forms of lyric poetry less impregnated with Freudian notions than the work of writers like Lowell.

Descended from old Dutch and English colonial stock, Lansing was reared in a small town near Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated from Harvard in 1949 and received an M.A. from Columbia in 1955. He worked in publishing and bookselling.

Lansing edited two issues of a poetry journal, SET, in 1961 and 1963. His poetry was collected in The Heavenly Tree Grows Downward (1977) and in Heavenly Tree / Soluble Forest (1995). Poems in the first book appear in a different order in the second, reflecting his belief that his book (both collections are versions of a single work) evolves into a new form as new poems emerge. He contributed Analytic Psychology (1983) to The Curriculum of the Soul, a series of short books by poets following a series of subjects outlined by Olson. As "The Soluble Forest," that book now forms the concluding section of Heavenly Tree / Soluble Forest. Lans ing also collaborated with artists Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese on On the Book (2002).

Much of Lansing's work is overtly sexual: "When then love takes you in hand," he writes in "An Inlet of Reality, or Soul" (1977), "you don't languish in the clover / but make song." His ideal is Walt Whitmans world of "comrades," a world of solitary individuals drawn together in a vortex of joy: "Sex on earth," he claims in "Stanzas of Hyparxis" (1977), "is rhymed angelic motion."

Lansings poetic project—the gradual unfolding of a magical poetic vision of transformation and transcendence—brought him considerable respect among fellow poets. He is, said Robert kelly, in a blurb on Heavenly Tree / Soluble Forest, "the most learned among us, and the most fun."


Baker, Robert. "The Metaphysics of Gerrit Lansing." Rain Taxi Online 23 (fall 2001). Available online. URL: www.raintaxi.com/online/2001fall/lansing.shtml. Downloaded 15 March 2003. Foster, Edward, ed. Talisman: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry and Poetics 15 (winter 1995/96). [The Gerrit Lansing Issue]

Edward Foster

LAST POETS, THE This innovative group of African-American poets exemplifies an African oral tradition in the United States that is particularly a part of African-American poetry (see black arts movement and harlem renaissance). The group formed on May 19, 1968, at a celebration honoring Malcolm X's birthday in Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem. Original members included Gylan Kain, Abiodun Oyewole, David Nelson, and conga player Nilija. During the 1970s the number of members swelled to include Felipe Luciano, Umar Bin Hassan, Jalal Nurridin, and Suliaman El Hadi. Although the Last Poets were not officially connected to the Black Arts movement, Amiri baraka describes the impetus behind their verse as the same: "Our art describes our past, the middle passage, Slavery, the struggle of the Afro-American Nation! For Democracy, Self-Determination, and the destruction of national oppression and capitalism" (xiii).

Using the rhythm of the conga drum in a "call and response" to emphatic vocal expression, the Last Poets brought poetry to the streets, capturing the attention of large numbers of people uninterested in more traditional forms of poetry. The group focused on black experiences and aimed candid, metaphoric political messages and historical accounts of African-American experiences at a black audience.

Through their art these poets attempted to create a collective consciousness among blacks by directly interpreting the social injustices in their lives and laying the blame at the door of the white power structure. One of the most caustic examples is Jalal Nuriddin's "The White Man's Got a God Complex" (1971), a poem focused on American imperialism, oppression, and white supremacy, in which the killing of various groups ("Indians," "Japanese," "black people") is summed up with this pronouncement: "Enslaving the earth I'm God! / Done went to the moon I'm God!"

The hope for social change was the force behind much of the poetry. Nonetheless the Last Poets did not limit their criticism to the white power structure. They struck blows with their poetic accounts of the effects of drug use with poems such as "Jones Coming Down" (1970), which describes in horrid detail the force of addiction. Using the word jones as a euphemism for drug habit, the poem indicts the motivation that propels so many poor, disadvantaged youth into this temporary escape from the blighted conditions of their experiences.

Their early repertoire also included tributes to legendary jazz musicians, such as Charlie Parker, and poetry dedicated to ancestors, black women, black people in general, and the African heritage of African Americans. According to the biographer Kim Green, the Last Poets' mission "is to enlighten you with poems that give Black people roots, purpose, and a beginning other than slavery and shame" (xxix).

The Last Poets, hailed as the forerunners of present-day rap artists, continue to perform.


Baraka, Amiri. Foreword to On a Mission, by Oyewole, Abiodun, and Umar Bin Hassan. New York: Henry Holt, 1996.

Green, Kim. Introduction to On a Mission. Oyewole, Abio-dum, and Umar Bin Hasson. New York: Henry Holt, 1996.

Nuriddin, Jalal, and Suliaman El Hadi. The Last Poets. Vibes from the Scribes: Selected Poems. New Jersey: Africa World

Press, 1992.

Judy Massey Dozier

LAUTERBACH, ANN (1942- ) Since the mid-1970s Ann Lauterbach has been writing philosophical poetry that explores language's relationship to the tensions between presence and absence, continuity and discontinuity, as well as voice and silence. Her meditative style and intellectual content affiliate her with other discursive poets, such as Wallace stevens and new YORK school poet John ashbery, and her formal and linguistic experimentation suggest the influence of the language poets. Lauterbach also cites Emily Dickinson, Gertrude stein, and Sylvia plath as relevant feminist precursors to her own poetry (see FEMALE VOICE, FEMALE LANGUAGE).

Born and raised in New York City, Lauterbach completed graduate work at Columbia University in 1967. She spent the next seven years working as an editor at the publisher Thames and Hudson in London before returning to New York, where she directed art galleries in the mid-1970s. Lauterbach has published six books of poetry, the first, Many Times, But Then (1979), and the most recent, If in Time: Selected Poems, 1975-2000 (2001), which also contains new poems. She has taught at Bard College and, among her other honors and awards, she received a MacArthur grant in 1993.

For Lauterbach language's ability (or lack thereof) to mediate the contradictions of human experience is responsible for constituting the individual's relationship to notions of truth and reality. She has written, in "On Memory," (1990), that words "release things from the temporal and spatial settings in the real" (520). At the same time, however, "Words are how we own our knowledge of the now" (521). Thus Lauterbach's poetry goes beyond the mere ungrounding of reality to identify a new kind of knowledge that is actually grounded in the transient and uprooting character of language.

Lauterbach employs three interrelated techniques to walk this delicate line between grounding and uprooting: She foregrounds the importance of prepositions and conjunctions, she uses abstraction to generalize her text so as to require completion by the reader, and she treats form as its own meaning-making device, not merely as an extension of content. All three devices present old relations in new ways and imagine new forms of relation.

These lines from "The Prior" in And For Example (1994) demonstrate Lauterbach forging new relations through slippages and abstractions of meaning: "What is it based on what pleasure / what lost in what of your own making —." Not only do the "what's" in these lines lack a clear reference within the poem, they also function simultaneously as both questions and nouns. Furthermore the prepositions multiply the syntactic possibilities of the sentence, forcing the reader to hear both "What is it based on?" and "On what pleasure?" Such referential and syntactic ambiguities make Lauterbach's work a poetry of possibility that demands keen attention and full participation.


Lauterbach, Ann. "Ann Lauterbach: An Interview," by Molly Bendall. American Poetry Review 21.3 (1992): 19-25.

--. "On Memory." In Conversant Essays: Contemporary

Poets on Poetry, edited by James McCorkle. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1990, pp. 519-524. Schultz, Susan. "Visions of Silence in Poems of Ann Lauterbach and Charles Bernstein." Talisman 13 (1994-5): 163-177.

Mitchum Huehls

LEE, LI-YOUNG (1957- ) Li-Young Lee asserts that "poetry comes out of a need to somehow— in language—connect with universe mind ... a mind [he] would describe as a 360-degree seeing" (qtd. in Marshall 130). Lee, a "sound-conscious poet," in Chitra Divakaruni's words, uses a variety of poetic forms in order to hear the frequency under language and seeks "a kind of musical inevitability . . . the way the poems open, the way they disclose themselves" (qtd. in Miller 36). Lee's writing, greatly influenced by teacher and poet Gerald stern, captures a fragmentary 20th-century aesthetic that derives from memories of displacement, while it also sustains an undertone of spirituality that hearkens back to John Donne, Walt Whitman, and T. S. eliot, among others.

Born in Djakarta, Indonesia, of Chinese parents, Lee's childhood was a series of flights and losses. His father—a physician to Mao Tse-tung, as well as a preacher, a university professor, and a political prisoner of Sukarno in Indonesia—fled Indonesia in 1959 with his family to Hong Kong, Macao, Japan, and, finally, to the United States, settling in the Midwest, where he continued to preach as a Presbyterian minister. His mother is a granddaughter of Yuan Shih-kai, a warlord and president of the Republic of China. This remarkable personal and familial history finds itself embedded in Lee's two works of poetry, Rose (1986) and The City in which I Love You (1990) and his memoir, The Winged Seed (1995). Lee's several honors include New York University's Delmore SCHWARTZ Memorial Poetry Award (1989) for Rose, the Lamont Poetry Selection (1990) for The City in which I Love You, and a fellowship from the Academy of American Poets for distinguished poetic achievement (2003).

The search for intention and awareness is common to all of Lee's work, as he draws attention to the universal through the particular, focusing on the figure of his father to mediate these connections. A rose, for example, acts as the central metaphor—a delicate symbol of endurance—that personifies a chorus of family voices in the eponymous poem in Rose. In The City in which I Love You Lee invokes the Bible's "Song of Songs" (Song of Solomon) to connect the secular with the sacred, the mythical/archetypal with the practical, the ordinary with the rare: "All are beautiful by variety" ("The Cleaving"). In The Winged Seed, Lee shapes his family's plight as exiles into a surreal narrative that highlights an endless, immediate present that contrasts memory and history. Lee's allegiance to the familial and the spiritual manifests itself in all of his writings.

Lee's poetic and prose styles demonstrate aesthetic thinking combined with ethical, moral gestures that rise above the cultural and the ideological. For Lee the mission of poets is to witness the invisible, as Tod Marshall writes, "making it revealed in the visible so that everybody can line up and know what they're lining up with . . . lining up with the cosmos that they are" (146).


Marshall, Tod. "To Witness the Invisible: A Talk with Li-Young Lee." Kenyon Review 22.1 (winter 2001): 129-147.

Miller, Matt. "Darkness Visible: Li-Young Lee Lights up His Family's Murky Past with Poetry." Far Eastern Economic Review 159.22 (May 30, 1996): 34-36.

Marie-Therese C. Sulit

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