Sueyeun Juliette Lee
That Gorgeous Feeling
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A vivid life force surges through A Gorgeous Feeling asserting and affirming the bounty of social complexity in electrified fields of discourse, lived engagement, and cultural consciousness. This is tremendously rich language. Acting as lightning rods these poems feed energy along pathways of courageous, dissonant ethical charges. Sueyuen Juliette Lee unsettles illusions, pushes at questionable foregrounding elements, swerves, permeates, and injects syntax with intensified feeling. Her words have agency. These poems are full of finesse, radiance and are unsettlingly real.
What is that gorgeous feeling? Desire? Hatred? A fever induced by Senator Daniel Akaka? In Sueyeun Juliette Lee's capable hands, it's all of the above. Her poems move effortlessly from lyric solemnity to giddy play, resonating with the influences of Gertrude Stein, John Yau, and kung-fu movies. Lee looks out on a landscape of yellow fever, model-minority stereotypes, and political repression, but she chooses the mordant optimism of Kim Jong Il: "The situation is not as bad as it may appear." In cheeky odes to her cultural "heroes," from Toshiro Mifune to Daniel Dae Kim, Lee makes the surprising discovery that "Everything is brightness in this slanting eye." So listen up when Lee tells you to "Grab your ray guns and shades": she's staking her claim as the Margaret Cho of poetry, for whom "the joke is insatiable. / it rips and roars between and through."