Kim Hyesoon

Kim Hyesoon, born in 1955, is one of the most prominent and influential contemporary poets of South Korea. She was the first woman poet to receive the prestigious Kim Su-yong and Midang awards. Kim recently received the 2019 International Griffin Poetry Prize for Autobiography of Death and the Samsung Ho-Am Prize in 2022. Her poetry has been translated into Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Danish, and Swedish.

Phantom Pain Wings

Poetry by Kim Hyesoon

Translated from the Korean by Don Mee Choi

Cover design by Erik Carter

This book is about the realization of / I-thought-bird-was-part-of-me-but-Iwas-part-of-bird sequence / It’s a delayed record of such a sequence. An iconic figure in the emergence of feminist poetry in South Korea and now internationally renowned, Kim Hyesoon pushes the poetic envelope into the farthest reaches of the lyric universe. In her new collection, Kim depicts the memory of war trauma and the collective grief of parting through what she calls an “I-do-bird-sequence,” where “Bird-human is the ‘I.…
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Autobiography of Death

Poetry by Kim Hyesoon

Translated by Don Mee Choi

The title section of Kim Hyesoon’s powerful new book, Autobiography of Death, consists of forty-nine poems, each poem representing a single day during which the spirit roams after death before it enters the cycle of reincarnation. The poems not only give voice to those who met unjust deaths during Korea’s violent contemporary history, but also unveil what Kim calls “the structure of death, that we remain living in.” Autobiography of Death, Kim’s most compelling work to date, at once reenacts trauma and narrates death—how we die and how we survive within this cyclical structure.…
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Living through the military dictatorships and uprisings of South Korea’s post-war period, and writing from a present marked by continued corruption among society’s highest ranks, Kim Hyesoon’s Autobiography of Death addresses and gives voice to the swirling and incalculable mass of those whose lives were ended unjustly.
The Kenyon Review
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