Adventure with Ed Bok Lee

Who wouldn't love a published author and all-around great guy helping them build an adventure through the MIA? Find your fella in Ed Bok Lee.

Ed is the author of Whorled (Coffee House Press), a 2012 American Book Award winner, and a Minnesota Book Award for Poetry winner. His first book, Real Karaoke People: Poems & Prose (New Rivers Press), was the winner of a PEN/Open Book Award and an Asian American Literary Award (Members' Choice). His plays have been seen at major regional and national theaters including the Guthrie, New York Theater Workshop, Joseph Papp Public Theater, Theater Mu, Taipei Theater, Trinity Repertory Company, and the Walker Art Center. Other awards for his poems, plays, prose, and literary translations include support from the McKnight Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, U.S. Social Science Research Council, NEA, and Ford Foundation. Yeah—it's crazy.

Get to know one of the writers shaping an exciting evening of adventure and literature at Third Thursday at the MIA on January 17.

Paper Darts: What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Ed Bok Lee: Kimchi.

PD: What’s the last thing you read?
EBL: About serpentine belts and water pumps (for my car). If you mean literary stuff, The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard. 

PD: Favorite kind of soup?
EBL: It’s a three-way tie: borscht (with a dollop of sour cream), sundubu jjigae, and pho.

PD: If your life was a TV show, which one/what character would you be?
EBL: This question hurts my brain.

PD: What is an adventure?
EBL: Something you don't want to happen to you, but needs to, and does.

PD:What was the last adventure you went on, big or small?
EBL: Not sure what this was exactly, but this past fall, I was in an old ranger station for a few weeks in the middle of the desert, twenty miles or so from any cell phone or internet access or other people. I was alone and sleeping, when the pounding footfalls of something running past my window in pitch black woke me up. It’s the high desert, so my mind groggily deduced that it could only be one of four things: a big horn sheep, a human, an alien, or (as a local once swore she'd experienced) a portal had opened up in the mountain of giant boulders behind my cabin, in which case, it could have been anything: a baby wooly mammoth or ape or ancient martian or future race of human something… Eventually, I got my headlamp and a broom and poked around outside, figuring it was probably a big horn sheep, so I could get a glimpse. There was nothing there. Next morning, the 1,200 gallon water tank outside my cabin, which had just been filled a couple of days earlier, was completely dry. There wasn’t a drop around it. No tracks in the sand. I asked a half dozen experts over the following weeks, and no one had any explanation.

PD: Favorite rhetorical device?
EBL: Polyphony.

PD: Roses are red, violets are blue, fill in the blank.
EBL: Hearts perform surgery with or without you.

PD: Most embarrassing moment?
EBL: Unfit for print.

Now that you know the inner workings of Ed Bok Lee's brain, don't you just want him to craft a totally unique evening of mystery and suspense? Find Ed online at his site and make sure to join us on January 17 at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to experience his original tale throughout the halls of the museum. 


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