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The Resistance, Episode 24: Li-Young Lee

There’s an ancient story handed down to us in the Old Testament book of Numbers in which a group of people find themselves walking in circles. Their fear of change, their avoidance of Resistance, kept them from entering a portal to something—or somewhere—better. Sound familiar?

For acclaimed poet Li-Young Lee, the Resistance represents that door, which when framed this way, emboldens us to face it. It’s just one healthy example of the ways in which Lee views the Resistance at work all around us—calling us to silence, calling us to notice, calling us to portals for growth and revelation.

As the author of five poetry books, including The Undressing (2018), Lee has labored against the Resistance to earn prestigious honors such as the American Book Award, a Lannan Literary Award, a Whiting Award, and Guggenheim and NEA fellowships.

Our conversation with Lee opened our eyes to new layers of Resistance—a fearful proposition—even as we were also reminded of the maturation possible when it is faced.


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