The ToB, presented by Field Notes, is here!

It's the 2023 Tournament of Books, presented by Field Notes! And it's finals week! Dig in!

Wendy Whitesell

Cynthia “Heesun” Lee

Cynthia “Heesun” Lee

Hometown: Seoul, Korea

Currently residing in: Staten Island, N.Y.

Occupation: I currently work at a shipping company, but I’m planning on doing music fulltime soon.

When did you start writing poetry? When I was 13.

You identify as “Christian Rap” (among other genres) on your MySpace page. How does your identity as Christian influence your rhymes? Being Christian influences how I rhyme, in that I always make sure that whatever I’m writing has a positive message. I don’t always have to be saying “Jesus” in my rhymes, but I will always make sure I’m giving people a sense of hope and encouragement.

What else inspires your work? Life. Just our daily routines. I can be driving my car somewhere and just think of a song to write based off what I’m seeing around me. It’s also thinking of those who do NOT have a voice in society. I want to make sure they’re being heard and prayed for.

What have you been listening to? I only listen to gospel rap, spoken word, and conscious rap songs. There’s got to be meaning in it for me to listen.

What did you do for Easter? I spent it with family. Relaxed and had a good time.

Rosecrans Baldwin co-founded TMN with publisher Andrew Womack in 1999. His latest book is Everything Now: Lessons From the City-State of Los Angeles. More information can be found at More by Rosecrans Baldwin

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