Poor Love Machine
Translated by Don Mee Choi
Poetry, Translation, Korean Literature Studies, Women’s Studies
Release Date: April 2016
For decades, Kim Hyesoon — a leading figure in contemporary Korean poetry and trans-national feminist literature — has represented the capabilities of a poet who works across, around, and through the borders of nations and of language itself. Many of her works have been translated, with overwhelming support from Don Mee Choi, into English. With visceral and surreal imagery, Kim presents her latest work in translation, Poor Love Machine, with a rippling array of pain, desire, and light.
“Kim Hyesoon portrays a panorama of hovering love-hate feelings for the birthing body and for the cruelty of existence, creating an expansively conceived and dizzyingly borderless cosmic geography.”
“Kim’s poems, whether lineated or in prose, whether mythic or idiosyncratic (though rarely only one of these for long), reside at precisely those places between what the body is and what it is not, between the corporeal machinery by which meaning is generated and the meanings which thus emerge, tethered to the body by a string of cat guts and vibrating words.”
–Jessica Lawson, Jacket2
“Choi’s translations excel, in fact, in how she allows the language to perplex us; she is unafraid of sacrificing the coherence of English grammar if she can maintain a trace of Kim’s linguistic play.”
–Mia You, Bookforum
“Don Mee Choi’s dynamic translation brings Hyesoon’s miserable, beautiful body into English pungent and fresh, both alive and dead. Her informative introduction provides readers in English the context to interpret these poems as responses to patriarchal, neoliberal, neocolonial control, at once resistance to and inscription of the trauma inflicted by that control.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kim Hyesoon is a prominent South Korean poet who has received numerous prestigious literary awards. She teaches creative writing at Seoul Institute of the Arts. Her work translated into English includes three titles from Action Books, Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream (2014), All the Garbage of the World, Unite! (2011) and Mommy Must Be a Fountain of Feathers (2008), as well as the chapbook When the Plug Gets Unplugged (Tinfish Press, 2005), and poems in the anthology Anxiety of Words: Contemporary Poetry by Korean Women (Zephyr Press, 2006).
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Don Mee Choi is the author of Hardly War (Wave Books, April 2016), The Morning News Is Exciting (Action Books, 2010), and translator of contemporary Korean women poets. She has received a Whiting Writers Award and the 2012 Lucien Stryk Translation Prize. Her translation of Kim Hyesoon’s Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream (Action Books, 2014) was a finalist for the 2015 PEN Poetry in Translation Award. Her most recent works include a chapbook, Petite Manifesto (Vagabond Press, 2014), and a pamphlet, Freely Frayed,ㅋ=q, Race=Nation (Wave Books, 2014). She was born in Seoul and came to the U.S. via Hong Kong. She now lives in Seattle.