An Expelled Tongue: Translating Kim Hyesoon

Poet Don Mee Choi discusses the myth of fluency and what happens when translation is allowed to be hysterical.

Don Mee Choi is a translator of feminist South Korean poet Kim Hyesoon—most recently of Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream (Action Books, 2014), which was shortlisted for the 2015 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. The author of The Morning News Is Exciting(Action Books, 2010), Choi has received a Whiting Writers Award and the 2012 Lucien Stryk Translation Prize. Her most recent works include a chapbook, Petite Manifesto (Vagabond Press, 2014), and a pamphlet, Freely Frayed, ?=q, Race=Nation (Wave Books, 2014). Her second book of poems, Hardly War, is forthcoming from Wave Books in April 2016.

In the following interview with Margins Poetry Editor Emily Yoon, Choi talks about the failing and afflailing tongue, the position of history and politics in translation, and the American tendency to insist on joy, among other things. Choi proclaims, “If you’re not already, you’ll soon be a junkie of Kim’s adorable, often bloody, rat, cat, pig, hole allegories of patriarchy, dictatorship, neoliberal economy, and neocolonial domination.” Read two of Don Mee Choi’s translations of Kim Hyesoon’s poems in The Margins. And look out for a series of essays and short reflections on Kim’s work later this week.

READ THE INTERVIEW HERE  Asian American Writers’ Workshop – An Expelled Tongue: Translating Kim Hyesoon

(Image: Detached ??, by Daehyun Kim. 29.7 × 42 cm, Pigment liner and marker on a paper, 2014)

Author: The Poettrio Experiment

An AHRC funded investigation into poetry translation trios led by Francis Jones, Bill Herbert and Fiona Sampson with Rebecca May Johnson & Sergio Lobejón Santos

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