Item description for Book of My Nights (American Poets Continuum) by Li-Young Lee...
In Book of My Nights, Li-Young Lee once again gives us lyrical poetry that fuses memory, family, culture and history. In language as simple and powerful as the human muscle, these poems work individually and as a full- sequence meditation on the vulnerability of humanity. Now one of the world's most-acclaimed young poets, Mr. Lee has received numerous honors and awards. His poems have been translated into more than a dozen languages.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 6.25" Height: 9.25" Weight: 0.6 lbs.
Release Date Sep 1, 2001
Publisher BOA Editions Ltd.
ISBN 1929918070 ISBN13 9781929918072
Availability 1 units. Availability accurate as of Oct 25, 2016 09:47.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Book of My Nights (American Poets Continuum)?
Melancholy May 4, 2008
As a previous reviewer noted, the tone of this collection of poems is much more somber than his previous work. Li Young Lee continues to demonstrate his masterful way with words, but the feeling is serious and meditative rather than celebratory as it was in _Rose_. While I enjoyed his poetry immensely (particularly "My Father's House"), I much preferred the lighter, more joyful _Rose._
One of America's foremost poets. Mar 31, 2004
Li-Young Lee, Book of My Nights (BOA Editions, 2001)
Every time I find myself ready to crown a single person the foremost voice in American poetry (the candidate at present being Charles Simic), a book comes along by some other author I've forgotten who relegates the candidate to a shortlist. He undermining principle today is Li-Young Lee's Book of My Nights. I'd read The City in Which I Love You some years ago, thought it wonderful, and then promptly forgotten about Lee, who is of that school of poets who releases a book every seven or eight years. This is his most recent, and it is fantastic.
The subgenre of poetry best classified as "zen koan poems" has been greatly denigrated in Western literature, thanks in no small part to a bunch of bad amateurs in the fifties and sixties whose work persists in the public memory to this day. (I'm sure I don't need to name names. It's that impenetrable merde you came across in various literary magazines and the like that made you think "what on earth is this person on about?") The zen koan makes you think, not dismiss. Li-Young Lee seems to have taken the unenviable task upon himself to return the poetic version of the zen koan to the literary heights which it by rights should hold, and in The Book of My Nights, he takes great steps toward that goal.
Centering, as one would surmise from the title, around such topics as dreams and insomnia, Book of My Nights showcases Lee's considerable prowess with putting together strings of words aimed at making the reader contemplate some question that has no definitive answer; either it is unanswerable or every person will have his own different answer to the question.
"When he returns to the tale, the page is dark,
and the leaves at the window have been traveling beside his silent reading as long as he can remember.
Where is his father? When will his mother be home?
How is he going to explain the moon taken hostage, the sea risen to fill up all the mirrors?" (from "Degrees of Blue")
Lee's book-length poetic output may be small (Book of My Nights is his third book of poems), but it is wonderful for all that. Lee is a great American poet, and deserves an audience as such. ****
A Lonely Messenger Jun 20, 2002
Pick up this book and prepare to revel in several readings of it. Li-young Lee is a poet of profound force not so concerned with the effect of a poem as with its "center" as he would call it. In his past collections he has dealt with the theme of the literal father--knowing and finding him in the present self, and most of all, remembering him--and with the more mythical/religious father. It is this more abstract father that Lee looks to more and more especially in this, his third collection of verse. He asks questions of himself, the father, his family and the world at large in his poetry as when in "Hurry toward Beginning" his closing lines quietly ask, "The fruit of listening, what's that?" His poetry seems to have listened to all of our most secret needs for centuries. Lee also seeks memory's essence perhaps putting forth that in the act of remembering and writing it down we inevitably must refigure it somehow. It is the spirit that connects us, "sown in the air, realized in a body uttering/windows, growing rafters, couching seeds." Lee also sees the body, perhaps the poet too, as a vessel for all memory. Though doubt weighs in greatly throughout _Book of My Nights_ Li-young Lee comes to some new understanding and awareness of the self not as apparent in his earlier works. The last poem in the book is titled "Out of Hiding," and in many of the other poems we follow Lee on his journey to reconcile the divided sides of the self to reach, "that ancient sorrow between his hips,/his body's ripe listening/the planet knowing itself at last." Li-young Lee's _Book of My Nights_ are essentials for anyone concerned with the art of memory, the spirit that poetry can embody and around which it must revolve, and the fruits of one poet's productive insomnia.
A melancholy poet of family ties Jun 7, 2002
"Book of My Nights" is a collection of poems by Li-Young Lee. This book is part of the American Poets Continuum series. There is a melancholy feel overall to this book. This tone is established in the first poem, "Pillow," which mentions "discarded wings, lost shoes, a broken alphabet."
A number of poems deal with death or other forms of loss. As a whole, the book is dominated by references to family members and relationships. The most memorable of these family poems is "The Hammock," a poem that spans three generations; in this poem the speaker notes that he lives his life between "my mother's hopes" and "my child's wishes."
The poem which made the biggest impact on me was "A Table in the Wilderness," which is about the construction of ideographic characters from pictographic elements. Lee's thoughtful voice is quiet, but on occasion intriguing.
Must Have Reading Jun 6, 2002
While we may never feel the rush we felt discovering Lee in _Rose_, _Book of My Nights_ is easily his second best book, surpassing the imagery and emotional depth of _The City in Which I Love You_. Of course, you'd have to be crazy not to own all three!
If you've never read Lee and are considering picking up this book, by all means do so. This is heart/gut wrenching poetry at its original best. This is poetry which makes poets think, "I wish I wrote that".