Renowned poet, memoirist to give annual Emily Dickinson Lecture

August 29, 2008

University Park, Pa. — Poet and memoirist Li-Young Lee will be featured at Penn State’s annual Emily Dickinson Lecture at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, in Ballroom A-B of the Nittany Lion Inn, University Park.

Lee is the author of four critically acclaimed books of verse, including "Rose" (1986), "Book of My Nights" (2001), "The City in Which I Love You" (1991) and his most recent volume, "Behind My Eyes" (2008). Lee’s many honors include the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award and the American Book Award, as well as fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lannan Foundations, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

Born in 1957 of Chinese parents in Jakarta, Indonesia, Lee learned early about exile and loss. Lee's father, a deeply religious Christian, was physician to Communist leader Mao Tse-Tung. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Lee's parents fled to Indonesia, a move that almost cost them their lives. The victim of anti-Chinese sentiment, persecuted for his political and spiritual beliefs, Lee's father spent more than a year in an Indonesian jail before finally escaping the country with his family in 1959. For more than five years, the Lees wandered from country to country as political fugitives, moving from Macao, to Japan, to Singapore, to Hong Kong. Lee’s family settled in the United States in 1964. Lee’s father studied at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and later became a Presbyterian minister. Lee went to the University of Pittsburgh, where he took earned his bachelor of art in 1979.

The Emily Dickinson Lecture, courtesy of George and Barbara Kelly and the Penn State Department of English, is free to the public.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009