A Drink of Red Mirror
Kim Hyesoon

Translated by Jiwon Shin, Lauren Albin, and Sue Hyon Bae
ISBN 978-0-900575-80-8 | $18.00 | March 20, 2019

A hole walked in while I was removing my makeup I sat down on the couch and took off my pantyhose I looked at the hole

A landmark feminist poet and critic in her native South Korea, Kim Hyesoon’s surreal, dagger-sharp poetry has spread from hemisphere to hemisphere in the past ten years, her works translated to Chinese, Swedish, English, French, German, Dutch, and beyond. In A Drink of Red Mirror, Kim Hyesoon raises a glass to the reader in the form of a series of riddles, poems conjuring the you inside the me, the night inside the day, the outside inside the inside, the ocean inside the tear. Kim’s radical, paradoxical intimacies entail sites of pain as well as wonder, opening onto impossible—which is to say, visionary—vistas. Again and again, in these poems as across her career, Kim unlocks a horizon inside the vanishing point.


“Kim Hyesoon’s work functions like the body of a female grotesque; her poetry seeps from the page, protruding with images of violence, vomit, trash, bodily decay, and death. Kim’s poems consistently resist the pressure to beautify; they take instead the subjects deemed appropriate to Korean women—family, motherhood, romantic love—and defile them with the violent expressions of an oppressed identity.”

—Ruth Williams, Guernica

“[Hyesoon’s work is an] absolute pleasure, though it is sometimes a pleasure of the sort you might reserve for peeing in a shower, eating liverwurst, fiddling with a hangnail. It is also the kind of pleasure related to the undetected watching of animals. It is also not unlike the excitement of realizing the self as a force for transgression.”

—Olivia Cronk, author of Skin Horse

“What we might believe to be peaceful and sacred is turned rabid and for some reason it feels very right. It is strange, but it is also exciting and fresh. It makes language feel new.”

—Allie Moreno, Alchemy


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 Autobiography of Death (New Directions, 2018), 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).


Lauren Albin received her MFA from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Her original work and translations have appeared in The Southeast Review, The Bitter Oleander, The Nashville Review, and Korean Literature Now. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia where she teaches English, creative writing, and leadership.

Sue Hyon Bae was raised in South Korea, Malaysia, and Texas, and received her MFA from Arizona State University. Her collection of poems, Truce Country, is forthcoming from Eyewear Publishing. She lives in Sacramento, California.

Jiwon Shin teaches Korean literature and media studies at Arizona State University. She met Kim Hyesoon in the year of Poor Love Machine’s original Korean publication and bonded with the poet over their mutual liking for Mallarmé.