poetry in action #10 | From Pillar of Books by Moon Bo Young | Translated by Hedgie Choi

poetry in action features work by poets from around the world, translated into English.

It has three rallying cries:

Poets of the world, unite and take over!

Resist the oppressive constraints of good, publishable poetry established by mainstream literary venues!

Only poetry in translation, all the time!

Coming at you every 10th and 20th of each month.






Everything that suffers from walls becomes a house. Everything addicted to walls becomes a wall. Just as everything that’s born a wall and lives as a wall dies a wall, walls repeat and walls appear at random. “Though flowers bloom, I’ve never forgotten you.” Should this sentence be read to scare? To comfort? Walls like fallen cedar trees and unanswered letters. No, the things that are like fallen cedar trees and unanswered letters are a wall. When you drill through a wall another wall appears. What are some other ways walls and sentence endings differ? Spring means spring even after it turns over a new leaf, and all faraway things are walls. A wall dedicates its life to vindicating other walls, but still. There’s nothing written on the wall, and. No, things with nothing written on them are walls. The wall has no intention, and. The wall wants to be reckless, and. The wall’s always in a critical state. As much as you believe it can hurt, the wall hurts. As much as you believe it can break, the wall crumbles. Walls are over-the-top or walls are inadequate. When a wall told the truth about the wall, where did the wall go? Even the wall that shed its wall became a wall.










과학의 법칙









Laws of Science


A slept with B and C and D and E and F and G and H. Always at the moment of climax a quote from Democritus rang in A’s head. Everything is a random combination of atoms! Though A slept with I and J and K and L and M, Democritus wouldn’t take back what he said. Everything is a random combination of atoms, nothing has essence.


Poems seek explanations for observed phenomena that rely solely on natural rather than
supernatural causes.
Poems progress through the creation and testing of models of nature that explain the observations
as simply as possible.
Poems must make testable predictions about natural phenomena that would force us to revise or abandon the model if the predictions don’t agree with observations. [1]


The laws of gravity don’t apply to the world of particles smaller than atoms. This is because God is a microorganism smaller than the atom. It’s not that we can’t see God because God is too big, it’s that God is too small to be seen with the naked eye. We need special equipment to see God. To cut off contact with humans, God stopped the laws of gravity in the human world from affecting God’s world and now the humans are hurt.


a is a to the power of 1 but it pretends not to be. Here, 1 is something like air. There’s no need to announce that it’s there. People were lonely so they pinky promised that the power of 1 can be omitted unlike squares or cubes. Not writing 1 is a kind of strategy, and/or mental training.


There is an invisible steep slope in the sky, so the birds keep slipping.


Two high school girls sit at the back of the bus.
Eunseong, what time is it?
It’s 4:24.

Person a is hurt.
They didn’t want to know what time it is in this world, they didn’t want to hear anything so

Person a thinks

The Earth’s radius is approximately 6400km, so
use the equation 2?r to determine the circumference and
divide that by 24 hours: the Earth is running at 1674km per hour.
Person a has to be running the opposite direction of the Earth at 1674km per hour
in order to look calm and still, in order for the universe to look calm and still, from the point of
view of the universe.
Person a was running, running, running to forget the world so
why were people talking about what time it was?


You scratch your head. If you have a period five times in a month, your nails have specks of dried blood stuck under them.






[1] The statements about poems are based on the three characteristics of modern science defined in Beyond UFOs by Jeffrey Bennett.








수학의 법칙



















Laws of Math











도끼를 든 엉덩이가 미친 사람













Axe Wielding Crazy Assed Person


that’s an axe wielding crazy assed person that person asks me for
a pencil

a pencil I don’t have a pencil that person draws in the sandpit
a house

a house

with a door is possible
that person

opens the door in the house in the drawing and walks through whether or not to leave through the

isn’t something this person is hesitating about when it doesn’t open even after the doorknob is

and pushing with their ass and finally breaking it open with an axe that kind of thought

doesn’t occur to this person
this person

is an ass wielding crazy axed person who is this person I

cry this person swung the axe, don’t you have any self-respect,


it was night a cold breeze blew behind my back an utterly

clueless breeze who is it this person couldn’t take their real

and come out of their home this person is a person with an axe

in his ass
this person

cries people need to cry more often thinks the person with
the axe

when someone cries

they become anti-establishment so you come here,

isn’t something the person says the person

for the waves they

it’s possible to wait for the waves this person and the ass and the axe

are not insane

that’s not the reason this person knows the truth
the bird

hits the window and dies over and over again god isn’t so skilled

see, that kind of thought was possible even when the axe was laid

what did you do just now? the axe doesn’t ask god dead

included it was a house we should repaint it, I say

bad words I am a nice person in the house made of ass and axe
a person

lives here axe wielding ass crazy a real person lived

I was curious the waves came and swept clean the sandpit why did this person

their house
in so. much.

great detail?








Moon Bo Young is a poet who has a hard time waiting for her nail polish to dry. She was born on Jeju Island, in 1992. She graduated Korea University with a degree in education. When it got windy on Jeju Island, she put a flat rock on top of her hat. She debuted as a writer in 2016. In 2017, she won the Kim Soo Young Prize for her book Pillar of Books, and with the prize money, she had a pizza party with her friends. To practice living daily life, she started a Youtube channel, ‘Some Poet’s Vlog.’ She also publishes a one-person literary magazine called A Bajillion Things Moon Bo Young, and subscribers get her fiction, poetry, and journal entries in the mail. She likes pizza more than poems, and she likes journaling more than pizza, and she loves her friends more than journaling. She has two books of poetry, Pillar of Books and Battle Ground, and a book of essays, The Many Ways to Hate People.

Moon Bo Young’s Instagram handle: @opendooropenit 


Hedgie Choi is a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers. She co-translated Hysteria by Kim Yi Deum (Action Books). Her translations have appeared in or are forthcoming in Asymptote, The Adroit Journal, Cordite Poetry Review, Black Warrior Review, Columbia Journal, and more. Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming in The Iowa Review Online, Washington Square Review, Beloit Poetry JournalWest Branch, and The Journal.


poetry in action is an Action Books blog feature curated and edited by Katherine M. Hedeen (@kmhedeenwith web editing by Paul Cunningham.

October 9th, 2020|
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