Creative Writing MFA Alumni Spotlight: Ae Hee Lee ('17)

Author: Paul Cunningham

Ae Hee Lee

Ae Hee Lee was the recipient of the 2022 Dorset Prize. Poetry judge John Murillo selected Lee's manuscript Aesterism as the winner. She will receive a $3,000 cash prize and a week-long residency at MASS MoCA worth $1,500 in addition to publication by Tupelo Press, 20 copies of the winning title, a book launch, and national distribution of her book.

Of Lee's Aesterism, Murillo writes:

It is quite commonplace when describing a new volume of poetry to resort to stock, albeit wholly appropriate, descriptors. “Stunning” and “dazzling” come immediately to mind. So, too, “compelling.” I’m sure I’ve used such phrases myself, and would now when writing about Asterism, were this book not so fresh that it makes one self-conscious of, and encourages the reader to want to lean away from, anything resembling the familiar. The range in theme would be impressive enough on its own, but what sets this collection apart is how the author is able to pull off legitimate experimentation while remaining accessible. The poems both invite and challenge the reader.

In September, the Poetry Foundation also selected Lee as one of 12 finalists for the 2022 Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship.


Born in South Korea, raised in Peru, Ae Hee Lee currently lives in the United States. She holds an MFA from the University of Notre Dame, where she was awarded an Academy of American Poets Prize, and a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is the author of the poetry chapbooks: Bedtime || Riverbed (Compound Press, 2017), Dear bear, (Platypus Press, 2021), and Connotary, which was selected as the winner for the 2021 Frost Place Chapbook Competition. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming at Poetry Magazine, Poetry Northwest, The Georgia Review, New England Review, and Southern Review, among others.