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Unexpected Vanilla: Poetry Reading with Poet Lee Hyemi and translator Soje

November’s literature event celebrates a recent publication of poetry by Lee Hyemi from Tilted Axis, translated by Smoking Tiger Soje.

Unexpected Vanilla

Unexpected VanillaPoetry Reading with Poet Lee Hyemi and translator Soje
Wednesday 25th November 12noon-1:30pm (UK time)
Zoom videoconference. Entrance Free – Booking Essential
Apply to [email protected] with your name and contact details by 4th November 2020.
Official details on KCCUK website

The event is free of charge, but booking is essential. The first thirty people to RSVP for the event will receive a copy of the book posted directly to their home. Please note that you will need to provide us with a full postal address once you have received your confirmation e-mail in order to receive a book for the event and we cannot accommodate book purchases for participants outside the UK.

Following the reading and talk, Lee Hyemi will respond to questions from the audience. The talk will be moderated by Soje, who also translated ‘Unexpected Vanilla’. This event is co-organised with the publisher Tilted Axis Press.

Unexpected Vanilla

A sensual, surrealist collection by a young feminist poet

Lee explores a wide variety of relationships, attractions, and sensations. Her erotically charged, surrealist sensibility can be traced back to the paintings of Leonor Fini, a bisexual Argentinian artist whom she admires. Lee subverts the titular “vanilla” norm without denying its pleasures.

Detailing various intimacies in her “world of the second person,” which feels clandestine but safe from the threat of exposure, Lee explores the Korean language’s scope for ambiguous gendering.

Read excerpts in Asymptote | Korean Literature Now

Lee Hyemi

Lee Hyemi debuted at age eighteen by winning the JoongAng New Writer’s Award in 2006 and became the youngest winner of the JoongAng New Writer’s Award after novelist Choi In-ho won in 1963. She has authored the poetry collections Ultraviolet (2011) and Unexpected Vanilla (2016). Her poems have appeared in Modern Poetry in Translation, Asymptote, and Words Without Borders.


Soje is a translator, writer, and the creator of chogwa, a quarterly e-zine featuring one Korean poem and multiple English translations. Soje is the translator of Lee Hyemi’s Unexpected Vanilla (Tilted Axis Press, 2020), Choi Jin-young’s To the Warm Horizon (Honford Star, 2021), and Lee Soho’s Catcalling (Open Letter Books, 2021).

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