Advertisement

Writing Exile and Diaspora in Li-Young Lee’s The Winged Seed and The City in Which I Love You

  • Walter S. H. Lim

Abstract

In Li-Young Lee’s writing of the Chinese diasporic experience, migration to the United States is not represented as the defining experience that brings respite after discrimination on the basis of race, political persecution, and forced transnational crossings. Consciousness of race has been forced on Lee as a subject of Chinese descent born in Indonesia, an experience encountered at uncomfortably close range by Lee in the political persecution of his father by the Indonesian government. For Lee, the father who is the patriarch of the family is not only its provider and protector but also a victim of persecution, not only the repository of values but also an estranging figure of authority. A controlling presence in Lee’s diasporic experience, this father epitomizes the emotional and psychological dislocations of exile, facilitating remembrance of Indonesia at the same time that he creates space for the possibilities of a new life in America.

Keywords

Christian Faith Chinese Descent Paternal Authority Poetic Form Political Persecution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Li-Young Lee, The Winged Seed: A Remembrance (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995). Subsequent references to the text are to this edition and will be cited as WS.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bill Moyers, The Language of Life (New York: Doubleday 1995), 258.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Li-Young Lee, The City in Which I Love You (New York: BOA, 1990), 77–87. All subsequent references to the text are to this edition and will be referred to as City.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Xiaojing Zhou, “Inheritance and Invention in Li-Young Lee’s Poetry,” MELUS 21, no. 1 (Spring 1996): 113–32;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Jeffrey F. L. Partridge, “The Politics of Ethnic Authorship: Li-Young Lee, Emerson, and Whitman at the Banquet Table,” Studies in the Literary Imagination 37, no. 1 (Spring 2004): 103–26;Google Scholar
  6. Partridge, Beyond Literary Chinatown (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2007), 77–98.Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    Steven G. Yao, Foreign Accents: Chinese American Verse from Exclusion to Post-ethnicity (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2010), 146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Wang Gungwu, China and the Chinese Overseas (Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, 2003), 320.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Edward W. Said, Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002), 173.Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    Li-Young Lee, Rose (New York: BOA, 1986), 18. All subsequent references to the text are to this edition and will be referred to as Rose.Google Scholar
  11. 18.
    For a study of the history of contemporary American avant-garde, one that involves Asian American poets’ experimentation with and debates about poetic forms, see Timothy Yu, Race and the Avant-Garde: Experimental and Asian American Poetry since 1965 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2009). Yu’s study traces the development of the Asian American avant-garde by offering not only nuanced close readings of representative poems but also an account of the cultural implications of different critical readings responding to this development.Google Scholar
  12. 20.
    T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets (New York: Harcourt, 1968), 14.Google Scholar
  13. 21.
    T. S. Eliot, Selected Poems (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1934), 107.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Walter S. H. Lim 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walter S. H. Lim

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations