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9780898232264

Real Karaoke People (Many Voices Project)

Ed Bok Lee Author

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9780898232264: Real Karaoke People (Many Voices Project)

A dramatic debut, Real Karaoke People juxtaposes tradition and pop culture to bridge generations and continents in a way both heart-rending and real. Poems and prose engage readers with vivid and emotional portrayals of immigrant life and scrutinize conceptions of race, class, and ethnicity.

Through everything from frank confession to lyric verse, this collection offers an open yet often highly individual account of contemporary America and the aftermath of assimilation. At once nostalgic and critical, Real Karaoke People offers a gritty, honest, and compelling worldview.

ED BOK LEE is the author of Real Karaoke People, winner of a PEN/Beyond Margins Award, and an Asian American Literary Award (Members' Choice). Other awards include grants from the Jerome Foundation, NEA, and a McKnight Artists Fellowship in Poetry. 

 

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From the Publisher:

A 2007 national bestseller in poetry, REAL KARAOKE PEOPLE will appeal to a wide variety of domestic and international readers (of all ethnic backgrounds and ages) with personal connections to the changing face of America, the Immigrant Experience, Karaoke singing, Asian Pop Culture and Hip-Hop, Buddhism, the Korean War, and/or Travel through Asia.

From the Inside Flap:

"Lee's debut is a strong and deeply involved collection of poems marked with a selection of prose in the vein of Sherman Alexie...REAL KARAOKE PEOPLE is a success in the techniques of poetry as well as simply a joy to read...Lee mangages to reinvent the wheel..."

--The Corresponder

"This is poetry at its richest...perceptive and haunting, [Lee's] stories are heartfelt [and] make your soul sing..."

--ImaginAsian TV (New York)

"[Lee] shines a spotlight on...immigrants...adolescents, an ex-porn star--outcasts, dreamers, pretenders...longing to take on a new identity"

--St. Paul Pioneer Press

"[A] beautifully complex, contradictory, and insistently compelling world...this is a book that opens up new possibilities for American poetry."

--Jim Moore, author of "Lightning at Dinner"

"These poems come in rapid fire from a world at war with change and loss, forgetfulness and memory. Ed Bok Lee's words hit like pellets. He delivers amazing lines: "we learn to navigate by drowning." Lee is a truth teller of the immigrant experience in our vast and diverging demography. He brings the world right up in our face. The narrator is unforgettable--as well as his characters such as the man who looks for a wife "with oceanic lungs who can blow life into the spirit he's lost." Lee brings knowledge of what it is like to settle in the current New America, updating the European immigrant experience of the last century--providing a latter to the earlier America. There is voltage in these hard lessons--these secrets on how to survive. Lee's words are his navigational devices. He speaks with profound energy in this first collection [of poems and prose]-- A fire burns here."

--Diane Glancy, author of The Cold-and-Hunger Dance

"[S]tories that stay with you long after you've put the book down...about how language ties us to each other in the most devastating ways, and about how it always carries the weight of both personal and collective history....Lee is not hemmed in by narrow definitions of voice. He finds voice in everything - even in the spiritual, the indescribable....This very open approach to voice, coupled with the book's subject matter may be why Real Karaoke People feels so epic...Lee mixes the rawness of South Minneapolis street life with the brutal imaginings of parents and grandparents living through the Korean war, sometimes all in one stanza. Reading these poems and prose, you feel as if the history of an entire generation... is pouring out in front of your eyes..."

--Thinking Souls: On-line Literary Series and Monthly Book Club

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