Li-Young Lee Breaking the Alabaster Jar quotes

p. 66 of Li-Lin Lee, Feb 96
Li-Lin Lee: In poetry, there’s a much higher level of communication. In painting, it’s the lowest level. It’s like when you see a rock cliff. You’re astounded by it — the formations on this rock. That’s a very low level of communication. You see it and it affects you.
Cooper: But that’s instant communication.

p. 76 Li-Young Lee to Jansen, April 96, “That’s my model all the time, of the within that is within the within. So the poem is an infinity-inward flowering.”

p77 Li-Young Lee to Jansen, April 96 “We should write out of grief but not of grievance. Grief is rich, ecstatic. But grievance is not — it’s complaint, it’s whining. ”

p. 87 LYL “this body itself is already in the past. The body itself is a late report of an earlier report. Everything that occurred here, everything that is occurring here is the late report of an earlier event.”

p 89 LYL: This chair is a coarse form of vibration; my voice is a higher form of vibration. Silent thought is vibration…the whole universe is humming, is vibrating. It’s theat hum I want to hear. That’s the subject of my poems.[…]p. 91 “It [language poetry] looks like a literary activity. I’m trying not to write. The fact that I have to write is unfortunate. I’m just trying to hear something, so there’s a difference.”

(btw, Happy National Punctuation day!)

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3 Comments

    1. yes, his sense is that grievance is writing about a transient complaint but grief is something deeply rooted and permanent, in touch with the eternal.

      He reported his mom patted his hand and said, you poor boy.

      I’ve never seen him do humor writing. He’ll spend years distilling a poem from dozens of pages down to part of a page.

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