Ed Bok Lee, award winning author of Real Karaoke People (New Rivers Press, 2005) and Whorled (Coffee House Press, 2012) has been selected as the next resident in Coffee House Press’s Writers and Readers Library Residency Program. Bok Lee spend the month of January in residence amidst the archives of the Wallenberg Library at the American Swedish Institute with a public presentation on Wednesday, February 19th at 6:30pm.
Bok Lee, a Coffee House Press poet and winner of the Minnesota Book Award, American Book Award, and the PEN Open Book Award, will spend the month of January in residence at the American Swedish Institute’s Wallenberg Library and Archive, researching daily journals and poetry entries from often overlooked and lesser-known Swedish immigrants.
Bok Lee will use these entries, written in Swedish, as inspiration for new creative works, drawing mainly on their form and typographic appearance. Since the original poems and letters have never been translated into English, Bok Lee will be largely intuiting and re-creating meaning for the work.
“With what I’m calling meta-translations, I’ll take diary entries, poems, and letters written by laypeople in Swedish, and create new poems based solely on what I’m picking up from the, to me, unintelligible sounds and visual script,” said Bok Lee.
“The less I know of the original content, the better,” Bok Lee continued. “I might be thinking about my own parents’ letters home to Korea, while creating these meta-translations, or my own letters or diary entries or poems I wrote while living abroad.”
The evening will include a conversation between Bok Lee, Cassie Warholm-Wohlenhaus (ASI’s Librarian and Archivist) and Chris Fischbach (Publisher at Coffee House Press), as well as selected readings by Bok Lee. Bok Lee’s work will be on display in ASI’s Benson Gallery. Selections will be shared during the presentation.
You can follow along with Bok Lee’s work at chpinthestacks.tumblr.com.