London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Unexpected Vanilla – poetry talks and events

To mark the inclusion of Soje’s translation of Lee Hyemi’s collection Unexpected Vanilla in the shortlist for the 2021 National Translation Prize in Poetry, there’s a celebratory roadshow of events presented by publisher Tilted Axis Press

Unexpected Vanilla – poetry talks and events

Date: Monday 3 October - Friday 7 October 2022
Various venues

Tickets: Various | More details below
3 October: Poetry Workshop with Lee Hyemi and Soje Venue TBC and Bubble Tea Social w/ BESEA Poets Venue TBC
4 October, 6:30pm:
Lee Hyemi and Soje in conversation w/ Tice Cin
Burley Fisher Books | 400 Kingsland Road | London E8 4AA | [Map] | Tickets £5 | Book here
5 October, 7pm: Reading and Discussion w/ Lee Hyemi and Soje
KCCUK | Grand Buildings | 1-3 Strand | London WC2N 5BW | [Map] | Free | Register here
7 October time tbc: Poetry Showcase w/ Lee Hyemi and Soje, Remi Graves and Troy Cabida DJ sets by June Bellebono and Tice Cin
Reference Point | 2 Arundel Street | Temple | London WC2R 3DA | [Map] | Price and booking tbd

Unexpected Vanilla events

About Unexpected Vanilla

A sensual, surrealist collection by a young feminist poet, in an equally sensuous and sensitive queer translation.

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.

Published by Tilted Axis Press, the new edition of Unexpected Vanilla will be available on 29 September 2022 and includes a new translator’s note by Soje.

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 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). They also make chogwa, a quarterly e-zine featuring one Korean poem and multiple English translations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.