Mobile Photography & Art Saturday Poetry – ‘On Floriography’ by Karen An-Hwei Lee

Mobile Photography & Art Saturday Poetry – ‘On Floriography’ by Karen An-Hwei Lee


This weeks Saturday Poetry, matched with mobile photography/art is entitled ‘On Floriography’ by Karen An-Hwei Lee.  “This poem explores the ancient practice of floriography, the coded language of flowers, as a way to express human love through the use of fragrance, colors, and vivid symbolism. By elucidating the phenomenon of florescence alongside the art of floral arrangement, the poem encourages readers to extract poetry and beauty out of a dystopic world”, explained Lee. She holds an MFA from Brown University and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. A poet, novelist, and translator, Lee is the author of three books of poetry: Phyla of Joy (Tupelo Press, 2012), Ardor (Tupelo Press, 2008), and In Media Res (Sarabande Books, 2004), winner of the Norma Faber First Book Award and the Kathryn A. Morton Prize. Her most recent publication is the novel The Maze of Transparencies (Ellipsis, 2019). She works in university administration at Point Loma Nazarene University, and teaches in the low-residency MFA Program at Seattle Pacific University. Lee lives in San Diego, California.

I have matched this image by @solaristika44 – Marina Kozlova with this poem. You can view more of her work here.

If you would like to be featured in our Saturday Poetry section, please ensure you include the hashtag #theappwhisperer to any images posted to Instagram. This will mean we will be able to consider it.

To view the others we have published in this section, go here.


On Floriography’ by Karen An-Hwei Lee

If you often find yourself at a loss for words

or don’t know what to say to those you love,

just extract poetry out of poverty, this dystopia

                            of civilization rendered fragrant,

             blossoming onto star-blue fields of loosestrife,

heady spools of spike lavender, of edible clover

                            beckoning to say without bruising

a jot of dog’s tooth violet, a nib of larkspur notes,

                        or the day’s perfumed reports of indigo

                                in the gloaming—

              what to say to those

                           whom you love in this world?

Use floriography, or as the flower-sellers put it,

Say it with flowers.

—Indigo, larkspur, star-blue, my dear.

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