Modern Poetry in Translation – the Korean issue

The latest volume of Modern Poetry in Translation magazine has a focus on Korean poetry.

Modern Poetry in Translation - Blue Vein issue

The subtitle of the issue is The Blue Vein – a reference to a line from Kim Hyesoon’s work included in the volume. “Every morning the sky, the blue vein slaps you hard.”

The extract is from Kim Hyesoon’s latest Korean poetry publication, Autobiography of Death, a collection of 49 poems each of which represents one of the 49 days in which a person’s spirit remains on earth after death, until the 49th day ceremony (사십구재) sends it on its way. The work has a powerful inspiration: the deaths in man-made tragedies such as Gwangju and the Sewol disaster. As the poet says in an interview with Cho Chae-ryong: “Why does our country make us feel ashamed about the fact that we remain alive?”

Eight of Kim’s poems from this work are included in this issue of mpT, all of them translated by Don Mee Choi, who worked with editor Sasha Dugdale in compiling this issue, and who participated in its launch in the Print Room of Notting Hill’s Coronet Theatre on 21 March.

Don Mee Choi reads Kim Hyesoon's work in The Print Room.
Don Mee Choi reads Kim Hyesoon’s work in The Print Room. (Sasha Dugdale, left, looks on)

The gorgeous cover art is by Fi Jae Lee (이피)

The contents of the Korean section are as follows. As you can see, a good selection of contemporary names, as well as the classic from Yi Sang:

  • Kim Hyesoon, eight poems from Autobiography of Death (2016)
    Translated by Don Mee Choi
  • The Territory of Language Has Shrunk: a conversation between Cho Chae-ryong and Kim Hyesoon (2016)
  • Yi Sang, Crow’s Eye View (1934)
    Translated by Jack Jung
  • Kim Yideum, five poems
    Translated by Jiyoon Lee, Don Mee Choi, and Johannes Göransson
  • Jin Eun-young, seven poems
    Translated by Soohyun Yang and Yeram Han
  • Ko Hyeong-ryeol, three poems
    Translated by Brother Anthony of Taizé and Lee Hyung-Jin
  • Ko Un, four poems from Untitled Poems (2013)
    Translated by Brother Anthony of Taizé and Lee Sang-Wha
  • Kim Min Jeong, four poems
    Translated by Jake Levine
  • Han Kang, three poems from I Stowed Evening in the Drawer (2013)
    Translated by Sophie Bowman

The edition also contains translated works by eleven other international poets, and five reviews.

You can subscribe for a year (three issues) for £23 or buy individual issues via the mpT website. Some of the poems noted above can also be read for free on the mpT website.

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