Mommy Must Be a Fountain of Feathers
by Kim Hyesoon

Translated by Don Mee Choi.

Poetry. East Asia Studies. Korean Studies.
ISBN: 9780979975516
1 February 2008

The first full-length English language edition of one of the foremost woman poets in Modern Korean poetry. Kim Hyesoon was the first woman recipient of the prestigious Kim Suyong Contemporary Poetry Award, and is the author of eight collections of poetry. In Kim Hyesoon’s saturated political fables, horror is packed inside cuteness, cuteness inside horror. Interior and exterior, political and intimate, human and animal, agent and victim become interchangeable, interbreeding elements. No subjecthood is fixed in this microscape of shifts, swellings, tender subjugations and acts of cruel selflessness.

“by far the most imaginative poet in Korea today”

– Bruce Fulton

“Kim’s animals, like her implicit human subjects, exist within a “book of pain,” victims of violence from without and within. Bodies fail to protect, and there is no protection from bodies themselves […] These dark allegories are beautifully rendered by Don Mee Choi, herself a fine poet.”

– Susan Schultz


Cordite | Bookslut


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), the chapbook When the Plug Gets Unplugged (Tinfish Press, 2005), and poems in the anthology Anxiety of Words: Contemporary Poetry by Korean Woman (Zephyr Press, 2006).


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.