Welcome, Kim Hyesoon!

A pithy, short introduction to the poetry of Hyesoon:

“We carve on our body what society teaches us and continue this task, not knowing the identity they force us to have. This identity is carved on our faces and our skins. Not knowing our bodies have become “the paper made of human meat,” we stuff our bodies and make them a theater where cultural symbols or suppressed symbols play. It is not possible to explain women’s poetry until you sympathize with how women painfully go through the experience of having these tattoos carved on their bodies. At this point, women’s language is the butcher’s language who sells his or her body. It is grotesque and miserable.”

Stockholm International Poetry Festival 2015

Kim Hyesoon’s viscerally charged poetry channels the violence of South Korea and global capitalism. She writes out of illness and ecstasy. Instead of standing aside and criticizing global capitalism, she moves through its sick movement with grotesque humor: In “I’m OK, I’m Pig”, she becomes the mass-slaughtered pigs. The result is funny and horrifying:

London Book Fair, 2014- Korean Authors Reception Kim Hyesoon PHOTO: Private

“We return as hot pigs
We return for our final act
The act in which our fingers rot
even before we lie down in our coffins.”
(from Marilyn Monroe, translated by Don Mee Choi)

This is not poetry for those readers who want to be uplifted or who want to be given an easy political stance. Kim writes not out of an enlightened state but out of a state saturated with illness and violence.

When asked why she started to write, Kim replies that she was introduced to poetry when she…

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