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Poetry. Asian & Asian American Studies. Translated from Korean by Sun Gi Kim and Eunsong Kim. These deft, nuanced, and unmannered translations of Kim Eon Hee's poems introduce a genuinely exciting poet to the English-speaking world, one whose work reveals for us the limitations of our conceptions of what poetry is and the colonial legacies that structure our basic concepts of poetry, such as the gendered and raced expectations of the poetic speaker and of what counts as experimental writing. Kim's poetry, as the translators write, is unafraid of graphic disappointment or the pits: she brilliantly violates our idea of what is acceptable for an Asian female poet to say out loud.
The backdrop to Kim's playful 'absurdist' poetry is the neoliberal and neocolonial context of contemporary South Korea and its relationship to the United States, the two countries in the Kims' words, 'economic and political collaborators.' They rightly describe Kim Eon Hee's poetry as 'an unexpectedly politicized space, ' as, equally so, are their translations--and, indeed, all poetry and all translations.--Dorothy Wang.