To Square a Circle by T.K. Lee
To Square a Circle is firmly rooted in the rich, at times, mythically rural language of the Deep South, as it peels back the edges of an arrested coming-of-age story, told in honest language and evocative imagery through the eyes of an unnamed narrator wrestling with his own independent voice against the persistent truths inherited from within the wound and ache of a dying, patchwork family.
T.K. LEE is an award-winning member of the Dramatists Guild of America and the Society for Stage Directors and Choreographers, among others. A published writer of Pushcart-nominated fiction, in addition to award-winning poetry, he is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the MFA program at the Mississippi University for Women, in historic Columbus, Mississippi, birthplace of Tennessee Williams.
Publication Date: October 18, 2018
“T.K. Lee brings a dynamic new voice to Southern poetry in these poems that bring to life the distinctive voices of a Mississippi Delta family. The landscape and the rich soil informs their lives from the fields and backyards where they work and play to the kitchen where life’s most intimate truths are often revealed. Lee’s impeccable sense of pacing and tone lifts these characters off the page, beckoning the reader to sit down to table together.”
--Kendall Dunkelberg, Barrier Island Suite
In To Square a Circle, T.K. Lee renders a South visceral in its realism, both intimately recognizable and surprising at every turn. Lee’s lancet-sharp observations are fueled by empathy and nuance, and these poems sing and crackle, spark and growl. This is a wonderful poetry debut.
--Catherine Pierce, The Tornado is the World
Reading To Square a Circle, I hear the loving energy implicit in the vernacular South’s paradoxical use of the conditional and the obligatory verb tenses. The possibility of the conditional tense fleeces the oppressive obligatory tense so love has a chance to heal and endure. Lee’s narrative lines intertwine like tendrils receiving plenty of sunlight and water. These loving entanglements among members of an extended Southern family could be any American family’s interrelations. These poems obsess over uncanny but familiar details enlivened with wit, drama, and metaphorical energy. One poem advises: “you shouldn’t eat on porch swings.” But these poems, time and again, accomplish just this sort of balancing act. These poems will break your heart.
--Richard Lyons, Un Poco Loco