Taking mitochondrial DNA as his guide, Lee explores familial and national legacies, and their persistence across shifting boundaries and the erosions of time. In these poems, the trait of an ancestor appears in the face of a newborn, and in her cry generations of women's voices echo. Stories, both benign and traumatic, travel as lore and DNA. Using lush, exact imagery, whether about the corner bar or a hilltop in Korea, Lee is a careful observer, tracking and documenting the way that seemingly small moments can lead to larger insights.
From Mitochondrial Night
he explained, in the tradition
so the ancestors won't be so lonely.
Because spirits need us
more than we need them.
And for hours
they'll listen to anyone
Coffee House Press, 9781566895323, 88pp.
Publication Date: March 5, 2019