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Reading “Leaving” by Li-Young Lee



Poetry Lunch S4E2

Reading “Leaving” by Li-Young Lee from The Undressing, W.W. Norton & Co.


A simple poem for you today that feels so clean and open to me I can almost see through it. Like the tree outside the window in the first stanza. I love the idea of less nearness making way for more farness, for things far to get to come into view. Leaving can be like that—an overwhelming loss that opens up into vast possibility.

I feel that a lot right now in my new shop space that’s certainly not settled into. It feels stark and empty on the walls and strange, deeply strange and not really mine. But now with books and music accompanying the presses and type, and proper speakers set up (which we did just a few minutes before this poetry lunch, the first music streaming out made me cry), and ink opened a few times and presses run a few times… it’s feeling better. I can feel all the leaving I had to do to get here running deep through me. All I want to do is hunker down, tend, stay.


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