Translated by: Jake Levine, Soeun Seo
Publisher: Black Ocean, 2020.
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From the publisher’s website:
In Beautiful and Useless, Kim Min Jeong exposes the often funny and contradictory rifts that appear in the language of everyday circumstance. She uses slang, puns, cultural referents, and ‘naughty, unwomanly” language in order to challenge readers to expand their ideas of not only what a poem is, but also how women should speak. In this way Kim undermines patriarchal authority by displaying the absurd nature of gender expectations. But even larger than issues of gender, these poems reveal the illogical systems of power behind the apparent structures that govern the logic of everyday life. By making the source of these antagonisms and gender transgressions visible, they make them less powerful. This skillful translation from Soeun Seo and Jake Levine, brings the full playfulness and intelligence of Kim’s lyricism to English-language readers.
Kim Min Jeong is the author of Flying Porcupine Lady, For the First Time, and That Woman Feeling, as well as the prose collection Anyways,. She is the recipient of the Park In Hwan Literary Award and Contemporary Poetry Award and is the poetry editor for Korea’s largest publishing house, Munhak Dongne.
Soeun Seo is a poet and translator from South Korea. Her translations have appeared in such publications as Hayden’s Ferry Review, Circumference, and Puerto del Sol. She is currently a Michener fellow and is the co-translator of Hysteria by Kim Yideum.
Jake Levine is an American translator, poet, and scholar. He is an assistant professor of creative writing at Keimyung University and a lecturer at the Literature Translation Institute of Korea. He is the translator of Butterfly Sleep and Whale and Vapor by Kim Kyung Ju, the latter also published by Black Ocean, where he is the editor of the Moon Country series for Korean translation.
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