Connotary crosses through the porous borders of nation-states, cultures, selves, and languages. As an account of migration and meetings, the poems repeatedly move with and between the three countries Ae Hee Lee calls home. By rendering words into personal connotations instead of offering literal translations, these poems insist on intimacy as they explore how meaning can move along with one’s story.
“There is an exquisiteness to the jewellike poems inside Connotary. This is a poet that polishes every line with stunning prosody, imagery, and a keen attention to aesthetics. Each poem shimmers as the poet investigates the endless relationship to family and language. Korean, Spanish, and English are braided throughout the chapbook as the speaker in these poems negotiates the idea of home in what we lose, gain, carry, pass down, and offer up inside the various translations. Each poem is a gleaming facet. Each poem is a miracle of its own making. Each poem is a gesture at defining the abstractions and comparisons between words and worlds. I was left in awe at the dazzling mastery.”
—Tiana Clark, judge of the 2021 Frost Place Chapbook Competition
“Ae Hee Lee’s Connotary is one of those rare collections in which every poem holds its own weight, each with its own unique beauty, that the reader regrets every page turned toward the end. Connotary declares with quiet assuredness that despite all the circumstances and forces that turn her into the Other in her own home and relationships, the poet wields the narrative truth and transformative power to claim her space, no, go beyond it—to ignite that space with magic. I am grateful to be witness to Lee’s careful exploration of the themes of memory, myth, migration, and family, masterfully threaded together with tenderness and surprising metaphor.”
—Emily Jungmin Yoon