Li-Young Lee, finalist judge for 2012 Poetry Prize

March 10, 2012

We are thrilled to announce that Li-Young Lee will be serving as the finalist judge in Ruminate's 2012 Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize.

Li-Young Lee was born in Djakarta, Indonesia in 1957 to Chinese political exiles. Both of Lee’s parents came from powerful Chinese families: Lee’s great grandfather was the first president of the Republic of China, and Lee’s father had been the personal physician to Mao Tse-tsung. In Indonesia, Dr. Lee helped found Gamaliel University. Anti-Chinese sentiment began to foment in Indonesia, however, and Lee’s father was arrested and held as a political prisoner for a year. After his release, the Lee family fled through Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan, arriving in the United States in 1964.

Lee is the author of four critically acclaimed books of poetry, his most recent being Behind My Eyes (W.W. Norton, 2008). His earlier collections are Book of My Nights (BOA Editions, 2001); Rose (BOA, 1986), winner of the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award from New York University; The City in Which I Love You (BOA, 1991), the 1990 Lamont Poetry Selection; and a memoir entitled The Winged Seed: A Remembrance (Simon and Schuster, 1995), which received an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. Lee's honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Lannan Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

He lives in Chicago, Illinois, with his wife, Donna, and their two sons.

You can find out more about Li-Young Lee and his poetry through the Poetry Foundation, where you can also read his poem "Early in the Morning." You can also read an interview with Li-Young Lee in Sun Magazine.


This marks Ruminate Magazine’s 6th year hosting our annual poetry prize and it is a special thrill and honor to have one of our favorite poets, Li-Young Lee, serving as our finalist judge. The winner of the poetry prize will receive a $1000 cash prize and publication in the magazine. Entry fee is $15. The deadline to enter has been extended to May 5th. Curious about past winners? Download a PDF of Issue 21 to read last year’s winning poem by Adrianne Smith as well as the runner-up and finalist poems. You can read all the guidelines and submit here. We look forward to reading your work! Ruminate Staff

You can also see our other writing competitions here.

*Biographical information from the Poetry Foundation

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up. We don't allow comments that are disrespectful or personally attack our blog writers.