“The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.”
Celebrate food’s role in poetry and culture with the poems and activities below.
The following activities have been adapted from “Teach This Poem: ‘From Blossoms’ by Li-Young Lee.” They can be done alone or with a guardian, sibling, friend, or partner.
All rights reserved. Excerpted from Write It! 100 Poetry Prompts to Inspire (Spruce Books, 2020) by permission of Sasquatch Books. Written by Nickole Brown and Jessica Jacobs, designed by Krzysztof Poluchowicz.
Li-Young Lee was born in 1957 in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Chinese parents. In 1959, the Lee family fled the country to escape anti-Chinese sentiment and after a five-year trek through Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan, they settled in the United States in 1964.
He is the author of The Undressing (W. W. Norton, 2018); Behind My Eyes (W. W. Norton, 2008); Book of My Nights (BOA Editions, 2001), which won the 2002 William Carlos Williams Award; The City in Which I Love You (BOA Editions, 1990), which was the 1990 Lamont Poetry Selection; and Rose (BOA Editions, 1986), which won the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Poetry Award.
With regard to Lee’s work, the poet Gerald Stern has noted that “what characterizes [his] poetry is a certain humility... a willingness to let the sublime enter his field of concentration and take over, a devotion to language, a belief in its holiness.”