The Weight of Sweetness Essay

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A widely published poet, fiction writer, and critic, Semansky teaches literature and writing at Portland Community College. In the following essay Semansky examines the idea of "sweetness" in Li-Young Lee's poem "The Weight of Sweetness."

Much of Lee's poetry concerns his father, a powerful, if enigmatic, presence in Lee's life. A physician, founder of an Indonesian university, and Presbyterian minister, Richard K. Y. Lee died in 1980, and Lee's two poetry collections, Rose (1986) and The City in Which I Love You, (1990) and his prose memoir, The Winged Seed (1995), can be read both as elegies for his father and ongoing attempts to fully integrate his father into the story of his life. Lee's poem from Rose, "The Weight of Sweetness," captures the tone of the son's complex feelings about his father's loss. Into the idea of sweetness, Lee injects the bittersweetness of nostalgia. His poem is a recipe for the...

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This section contains 1,525 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Weight of Sweetness Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
The Weight of Sweetness from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.