KOREA ~ Bilingual Edition

$19.95

Han-Jae Lee

  • Size: 6 x 9
  • No. Pages: 322
  • Published: 2021
  • ISBN: 978-1-952194-04-7
SKU: PB20122 Categories: , , ,

Description

In this third collection of poetry in English, the Korean born writer, Han-Jae Lee, continues to express a deep appreciation and kinship with all things – both natural and manmade. All objects – from flowers to tires to tattoos – carry equal weight and sensibility. All are vital and animated, as if we have truly arrived at “a beatific place,” where, lulled by the quiet understatement of the writing, we may find ourselves “forgetting every inextricably bound thing of this world.” The experience of reading these poems is at once like enjoying both the ephemeral and sensual, and the boundaries that blur between. In Apple Memories we are told, “More than the red fruit in my hands/these apples are made up of blue skies, water and wind/and pleasing sunshine.” And in The Sorrow, “I’m at the window with the green tea she sent me/I’m drinking the leisure hour of the afternoon/contained wholly in the tea.” With many earnest questions and imbued with a sense of longing, the poet encourages us to reflect and ponder our world and our place in it. In Into the Clouds we are given these lines: “The clouds are like magicians who build the world/ without any troublesome measures./ Clouds demonstrate that to live is like the arising of clouds/ and dying is like their disappearance.” Lines to contemplate throughout a busy day.   —Magdalena Montagne, poet-teacher

 

Han-Jae Lee has studied poetry at Chung-Ang University and Korea University, and in the United States at library workshops in Santa Cruz, San Jose and at the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center in New York. In 2005 his poem, “A High-rise Apartment,” won a silver award in a national contest sponsored by The National Assembly of Korea and The Federation of Korean Cultural Center. His first poetry collection, A High-rise Apartment, was published in Korea in 2008. He also co-published three poetry anthologies. His debut collection in English, The Golden Gate Bridge and Other Natural Wonders, was published by River Sanctuary Publishing in 2013. His chapbook, A Place Where Clouds Are Flowing was published by Finishing Line Press in 2017. His third collection, Korea My Homeland, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2019. His poems have appeared in Catamaran Literary Reader, Monterey Poetry Review, Caesura, Sand Hill Review, Crab Orchard Review, PCC Inscape Magazine, Military Experience & The Arts, Snapdragon Journal, and EMRYS Journal.

Secluded Life

I live in a deep valley where there is no telephone,
no television, no computer.
No incoming news … only the sounds
of sparrows and mountain streams.

I sit on a tree branch or a boulder,
dipping my feet in a stream,
and recall past days.
Yet surveying all I have toiled to achieve
everything seems meaningless.

Once I followed after rainbows,
chased after the wind.
I no longer struggle to exist, now.
I enjoy a life of seclusion
with Nature as my
neighbor.

When I miss my friends,
I go down to the post office and send a letter;
then return to my nest—
singing together with unidentified birds
and playing a game of hide-and-seek
with fawns in the forest.

These poems are quiet, mysterious reflections on country life and city life, travels and small wonders (bugs, blossoms, birds, backyards), and on time and places Han-Jae Lee has lived and visited. By writing of the delicate microcosms of a garden, the worldly expanses of his memories, homesickness, longing and intense dreams, Lee lifts himself out of loneliness. They say that when you dream of frogs, you leap around from place to place without learning anything. Yet perhaps daydreaming, observing, and visualizing what’s under the common sky above his birthplace in Korea and America, visiting Ground Zero and the Statue of Liberty, mean more to this immigrant than to someone born and raised in the US who takes liberty for granted. Writing poetry is Han-Jae Lee’s attempt at comforting himself to make sense of this country and his life in it – a place that becomes less foreign by un-stranging himself in a strange land, thereby freeing us too.
          —Kate Hitt, Printer-Poet, Many Names Press

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Han-Jae Lee’s poetry depicts a passionate portrait of the world around us. He exquisitely defines nature’s wonders, its beauty and its joy, but also the sadness which completes it. I highly recommend his writings and hope he continues to delight us with a continued outpouring of his poems.
        —Alexander E. Braun, author of The Adventure of the Maiden Voyage

—————————————————————-

In this third collection of poetry in English, the Korean born writer, Han-Jae Lee, continues to express a deep appreciation and kinship with all things – both natural and manmade. All objects – from flowers to tires to tattoos – carry equal weight and sensibility. All are vital and animated, as if we have truly arrived at “a beatific place,” where, lulled by the quiet understatement of the writing, we may find ourselves “forgetting every inextricably bound thing of this world.” The experience of reading these poems is at once like enjoying both the ephemeral and sensual, and the boundaries that blur between. In Apple Memories we are told, “More than the red fruit in my hands/these apples are made up of blue skies, water and wind/and pleasing sunshine.” And in The Sorrow, “I’m at the window with the green tea she sent me/I’m drinking the leisure hour of the afternoon/contained wholly in the tea.” With many earnest questions and imbued with a sense of longing, the poet encourages us to reflect and ponder our world and our place in it. In Into the Clouds we are given these lines: “The clouds are like magicians who build the world/ without any troublesome measures./ Clouds demonstrate that to live is like the arising of clouds/ and dying is like their disappearance.” Lines to contemplate throughout a busy day.
        —Magdalena Montagne, poet-teacher