Ed Bok Lee
Ed Bok Lee is an American poet and writer. He is the author of three books of poetry, including Mitochondrial Night (2019), Whorled, the recipient of a 2012 American Book Award and a 2012 Minnesota Book Award in Poetry, and Real Karaoke People (New Rivers Press), the recipient of a 2006 PEN/Open Book Award and a 2006 Asian American Literary Award (Members' Choice Award).
Early life and education
Lee was raised in South Korea, North Dakota and Minnesota. He studied Slavic and Central Asian Studies at the University of Minnesota; Kazakh State Al-Farabi University in Almaty, Kazakhstan; Indiana University and the University of California, Berkeley, where he was enrolled in the Ph.D. Program in Slavic Languages and Literatures. He later received a Master of Fine Arts from Brown University.
Poetry and other writings
Lee primarily writes poetry, though other published works include lyric prose, plays, short stories, and what he has referred to as “poelogues,” which derive technical elements from and often fall between poetry, the dramatic monologue, the soliloquy, and the duologue. Initially influenced by the poetry of Yi Sang, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Bertold Brecht, and Ai, since first visiting Los Angeles in 1992 then living throughout Russia and Central Asia from 1993 to 1995, Lee’s poelogues have included accounts from a wide range of points of view: a Korean youth killed in the 1992 L.A. Riots, the younger son of an Asian immigrant grocer, a Soviet-Afghan Muslim war rebel, the first rhinoceros in space, a professional blackjack player, a professional wrestler, a Vietnamese mail order bride, an inter-dimensional being, a Korean clone, a U.S. Iraq War veteran, a U.S. Iraq War veteran’s wife, conscripted Mongol foot soldiers, a DMT molecule, an immeasurable field in the multiverse, an Asian American male porn star, a Korean prostitute, an undefined particle within Dark Matter, a Hmong American hunter accused of murder (inverted poelogue), a meth cook, Asian carp (invasive species), a Norway Maple tree (invasive species), English Ivy (invasive species), an opium poppy farmer, Prince (music icon), among others.
Other publications, literary arts, and work
His various work has appeared in journals such as Fence, Gulf Coast, Diode, The Normal School, Tupelo Quarterly, Water~Stone Review, Copper Nickel, Volt, Idaho Review, Gwangju Daily (Gwangju, South Korea), Koryo Ilbo (Almaty, Kazakhstan), among many others, as well as in anthologies and at venues ranging from the American Swedish Institute (solo literary art exhibit) to the Walker Art Center, New York Theater Workshop, Joseph Papp Public Theater, and Guthrie Theater (play commissions/performances), to the ELLAK (English Language and Literature Association of Korea) Conference, Ewha University (Seoul), First Avenue, Treasure Hill Tea and Photo Gallery (Taipei, Taiwan), Chonnam University (Gwangju), the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Ex Teresa Arts Actual (Mexico City), AAAS (Association of Asian American Studies Conference) (Washington, DC), ALA (American Library Association Annual Conference) (Chicago), Sarah Lawrence Poetry Festival, and PEN America (NYC) (Featured Poetry Readings and Panels), among many others. He teaches part-time at Metropolitan State University.citation needed
- Kennedy, X.J.; Gioia, Dana, eds. (2012), Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing, Longman
- Gioia, Dana; Kennedy, X.J., eds. (2011), Back Pack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing, Pearson, p. 941
- Worra, Bryan Thao (30 September 2005). "An Interview with Ed Bok Lee". Asian American Press. 24 (39).
- Morstad, Marya (April 26, 2006). "Radio mnartists: Ed Bok lee". MN Artists.
- Poetry Foundation
- Official website
- "What Writers of Color Say We All Should Read Now," contributor Kao Kalia Yang, Minneapolis Star Tribune
- Two Poems by Kim Ki-taek, trans. The Guardian, 2017
- On Ed Bok Lee's Poem, 'The Schooner Bar' by David Mura in Gulf Coast
- Greg Choy, International Examiner, book review
- The Margins Interview with Sueyeun Juliette Lee
- Year in Review: Top Literary Moments, City Pages, 2014
- "Whorled" by Coffee House Press
- American Book Awards
- Minneapolis Star Tribune, book review by John Freeman,
- Rain Taxi interview with Scott F. Parker
- Poets.org Summer Reading
- "Kartika Review" Interview by Editorial Board
- Book Review, Knight Arts by Susannah Schouweiler
- Top Ten Local Artists of the Decade: 2010, Minnesota Daily
- Book Review San Francisco Chronicle by Marianne Villanueva
- AsianWeek, New and Notable Books by Terry Hong
- Book Review Boxcar Poetry, book review by Mary Chi-Whi Kim
- Minneapolis Observer, book review by Rebecca West