SCAPEGOAT by T.K. Lee
Scapegoat, by T.K. Lee, is his second collection of poetry, and in it, Lee continues deepening his artistic voice by centering the same unnamed narrator, introduced in his first collection, in more intimate and recognizable moments of vulnerability: Having Love and Having Loved. Far from what one might call love poetry, Lee effectively teases out the traditional tropes in this second collection, branching into experimental forms, at times. Yet, even in his playful and innovative approaches, he doesn’t allow his subject to grow maudlin or overly sentimental, The poems in Scapegoat thematically ebb and flow, catching and releasing the reader along with the narrator, as he struggles to learn the hardest truth of natural law: That to fully live, one must finally leave…whether that may mean a job, a home, or a marriage. Which he does, in each case, and fails, each time, and like the prodigal son, he gives in and returns to his childhood home, resigned at last to wait it out, until something becomes familiar again. But Fate is waiting for him there, to make sure he doesn’t miss the bigger lesson: That giving in is not the same as giving up.
Publication Date: 9/6/2022
Praise for T.K. Lee
If ever a southerner’s odyssey could be written, T.K. Lee has written it in Scapegoat: The Next Poems. In lines that sometimes read as an ecstatic romp, sometimes a heart-breakingly tender revelation (“I stay bothered by how much I worried that / I would not be like you”), in Scapegoat Lee has given us poems we can so clearly see ourselves. Even in the belly of the beast—the South—these poems reach out to tell us it’s the “age” that “pulls you / further away / from your Name.”
author of Headless John the Baptist Hitchhiking (Acre Books 2022)