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I'm OK, I'm Pig

by Kim Hyesoon

I recommend these poems if you are up for a tough demanding eye opening read. Persevere and be rewarded with a view of a world I for one had no conception of. If I thought of South Korean women at all I imagined them as emancipated as their Western sisters, but learnt that women's poetry needed to break free, and this collection shows how it can be done. Try it and have your eyes opened too. Notes and appendix were essential to my understanding.

Extract

Pig follows me

I'm that woman
that hideous, filthy woman
that woman, her stomach full of oblivion
that woman, her head filled with vomit
that woman, the girl passing by spits at
squirming beneath the rubber boots of scary men
doesn't know how to dodge, for the house of letters is so small
her face smudged with dirt, her dirty buttocks, her blood-stained toenails
I'm that woman, can tell from miles away the sound of the funeral car coming for me

from Going to the Gate of Temple
Translated by Don Mee Choi

Parallels

Anxiety of Words: Contemporary Poems by Korean Women by Ch'oe Sung Ja, Kim Hyesoon and Yi Yon-Ju
Echoing Song: Contemporary Korean Women Poets by Peter H Lee ed.
 

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