Kim Hyesoon is one of South Korea's most important contemporary poets. She began publishing in 1979 and was one of the first few women in South Korea to be published in Munhak kwa jisong (Literature and Intellect), one of two key journals which championed the intellectual and literary movement against the US-backed military dictatorships of Park Chung Hee and Chun Doo Hwan in the 1970s and 80s. Don Mee Choi writes: 'Kim's poetry goes beyond the expectations of established aesthetics and traditional "female poetry" (yoryusi), which is characterised by its passive, refined language. In her experimental work she explores women's multiple and simultaneous existence as grandmothers, mothers, and daughters in the context of Korea's highly patriarchal society, a nation that is still under neo-colonial rule by the US. Kim's poetics are rooted in her attempt to resist conventional literary forms and language long defined by men in Korea. According to Kim, "women poets oppose and resist their conditions, using unconventional forms of language because their resistance has led them to a language that is unreal, surreal, and even fantastical.
The language of women's poetry is internal, yet defiant and revolutionary".'
Kim Hyesoon began publishing in 1979 and was one of the first few women in South Korea to be published in Munhak kwa jisong (Literature and Intellect), one of two key journals which championed the intellectual and literary movement against the US-backed military dictatorships of Park Chung Hee and Chun Doo Hwan in the 1970s and 80s. She has since won numerous literary prizes, and was the first woman to receive the coveted Midang (2006) and Kim Su-yong (1998) awards named after two major modern poets. Midang was a poet who stood for 'pure poetry' (sunsusi) while Kim Su-yong's poetry is closely associated with 'engaged poetry' (ch'amyosi) that displays historical consciousness. She lives in Seoul and teaches creative writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts. She has published two selections of her work in the US, Mommy Must Be a Fountain of Feathers (2008) and All the Garbage of the World, Unite! (2011), both with Action Books, and one with Bloodaxe Books in the UK, I'm OK, I'm Pig! (2014), all three translated by Don Mee Choi.
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