Raina Lee’s most recent "emotional image" is clementines.
Based on a craft talk from poet Natalie Diaz's "Building The Emotional Image," Lee said she looks for reoccurring themes in her life.
Right now, that's clementines.
“Every single person in their life, poet or not, has these reoccurring images or themes that come up for them very consistently, and I think that poetry is just about exploring that because the more you write, things keep popping up for you,” Lee said.
A sophomore American studies major, Lee was recently awarded the UNC Asian American Center's June Yom Student Award for her planned poetry endeavors this summer. The award is a $2,500 grant for an individual student looking to conduct research, work on an artistic project or take an unpaid internship with a focus on Asian American communities and studies.
This is the first year that the AAC is presenting the June Yom Student Award. The grant was donated by Eugene Y. Lao, a 1991 alumnus, founding member of the Asian Students Association and a founding donor of the AAC.
With this grant, Lee said she is planning on writing her first chapbook, a small poetry book ranging from about 15 to 30 pages.
“My pitch to them was the construction of selfhood," she said. "How do I create an original autonomous self when I constantly have the white male colonial gaze inside of me, looking back."
This summer, as part of her creative process, Lee will be spending time in New York City. She said she will be visiting the Asian American Writers' Workshop, poetry houses and spaces and also visiting an array of different museums around the city — all to spark her imagination.