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Asterism (Paperback)

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An intelligent and gorgeous collection of poems.

At times personal, at others political, slipping back and forth between lyric and narrative and drawing on various languages and geographies, Asterism is a collection of grace and grit, the work of a mind at work—in, and on, a world that is simultaneously expanding and contracting. Both accessible and legitimately experimental, these poems invite and challenge the reader, moving between registers and modes with ease.

About the Author

Ae Hee Lee holds an MFA from the University of Notre Dame and a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. She is the author of the poetry chapbooks: Bedtime || Riverbed, Dear bear, and Connotary, the last of which was selected as the winner for the 2021 Frost Place Chapbook Competition

Praise For…

“I have been waiting quite a while for a poet to risk the elegance and gestural audacity of the Baroque upon issues of origin and identity. All too often, these issues vex and distort our poetry. But in Asterism, they amplify the language of Ae Hee Lee onto a ravishing spree of utterance and image. There is great breadth here, and heartening innovation.” 
— Donald Revell

“Ae Hee Lee’s Asterism is a sweeping tour de force of a collection. In this stunning debut, mouths eat, name, translate, dream, kiss. If we are what we eat, then, in these pages, the poet is everything. The body is a chestnut, the country a walnut, and homesickness a woman licking a spoon. Moreover, the poet’s mouth is a conduit to ‘an inward- / stretching universe of lungs / and dark matter.’ And Lee’s breath, which moves visibly over these poems, carries us into constellations of possibilities and light.” 
— Wendy Chen, author of Unearthings

“I believe the poetics of heritage and belonging in this Asterism are transformative. But how does Ae Hee Lee do it? Follow the poet’s eye: ‘I show my mother the photo I’ve taken: a lone piece of winter light had landed / on her left cheek, as if it too could sense in her / a glint of its future.’ There is a sensuality that comes from kinship, and goes beyond it: ‘my mother teaches me that in Korean to forget is also expressed as to have peeled.’ Which is to say, there is a knowledge in this book that is both hidden, and in plain sight. Transformative, indeed. The attentive reader will find magic in how the message is delivered by language here: ‘you can / trust me, just in the beginning,’ the poet writes, ‘then translate / me for yourself, question me / unsparingly like a sparrow / to another sparrow about breadcrumbs.’ A marvelous work, filled with terrific imagery and—perhaps more importantly—mystery, Asterism is a brilliant debut.” 
— Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic and Dancing in Odessa

“What does it mean to seek a life beyond belonging? Traveling through rich landscapes of memory, Ae Hee Lee’s Asterism retraces the poet's lineage from South Korea to Peru to the United States, restlessly seeking the self ‘at the edge of every edge.’ Words bloom and refract as they move across borders; uncertainties ring out in the gaps. Yet what is most powerful about this book is how it reaches again and again toward the reader, toward the possibilities that exist between ‘my air and your ear.’ A tender, finely-tuned collection, and a beautiful contribution to the canon of Korean diasporic literature.”
— Franny Choi

"Lee articulates the joys and alienations of being an outsider in her contemplative debut. . . . Peppered with polyglotism, tender with the thrills of discovery—of a new food, friend, or facet of oneself— these poems make Leeʼs wonder for the world
— Publishers Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9781961209015
ISBN-10: 1961209012
Publisher: Tupelo Press
Publication Date: February 1st, 2024
Pages: 80
Language: English