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— Víctor Rodríguez Núñez

Hope is Lonely

by Kim Seung-Hee

Bilingual English / Korean edition

Translated by Brother Anthony of Taizé
Introduced by John Kinsella

Poetry is a world of the imagination that begins with the loneliness and pain of a first-person persona but does not neglect social pain, but rather accompanies it. Thanks to the poem, the first-person can go beyond the first-person and “I” can become “we.” The eggs, pots, brooms, washing lines, flounders, croakers, and cutting boards that I evoke in my poems are metaphors of fragile and endangered women’s existence, as well as being universal human metaphors. I desperately go rowing across a first-person world in an attempt to reach a universal sea.

Kim Seung-Hee is regarded in her native Korea as being radically different from any other Korean poet, male or female, in her choice of themes and poetic expression as this selection from two of her recent collections demonstrates. Her poetry is strongly female and feminist, deeply personal, at times surreal, always humane. As John Kinsella writes: Her poems speak across lives and out of lives rather than of lives, and in this they liberate… Brother Anthony’s beautiful clarity of line and word allows the complexity of the poems…to shine through. This poetry, with its shattering lights, brightens the dark places…

[Kim Seung-Hee's] poems vividly depict the pitiful state of one who relies on a distant gleam of light as they follow a path across dark fields. The darker the language of her poetry seems, the more it becomes a premonition of dawn….

Yeom Mu-Ung, critic

ISBN: 9781911469766
Published January 2021

» About Kim Seung-Hee