Book Review: Rose by Li-Young Lee

This one I kind of grabbed of my shelf on a whim the other day and just had at it. Little did I know I would be completely unable to put it down, floored by the beauty of the author’s words and style.

I’m trying to make a greater effort to read poetry these days. For the most part, my friend Mike is to blame here, but I couldn’t be more grateful for his influence in this area. Poetry is an often neglected part of reading, though there certainly seem to be many “poets” out on the Internet these days. I blame high schools, for the most part. All of those painful Shakespearean sonnets, that Walt Whitman “O Captain, My Captain” business. It made no sense to our fickle adolescent minds! To us, the REAL poets were to be found in the sub-par rhymes and talk of anal sex with dogs from Blink-182. My, how we haven’t grown.

I digress…

Rose is a collection of poems from an author I previously had not heard of until probably last year, when my aforementioned friend Mike got this book for me for Christmas. It promptly sat on my poetry shelf, patiently awaiting the day I would pick it up and discover its contents. When I did so the other day, I was glad to have done so.

Lee touches on a few different themes, mostly in relation to his father, whom he sees as distant, yet present, and cold, yet loving.  Roses often appear throughout the poems in this collection (hence its name), standing as symbols for things both forlorn and nostalgic, beautiful and ugly.

Obviously, I’m pretty bad at describing this collection.  The only thing I can tell you to do is read it yourself.  You’ll be more than glad that you did!


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