Kim Hyesoon

Poet Kim Hyesoon was born in Uljin, Gyeongsangbuk-do in 1955 and received Ph.D. in Korean Literature from Konkuk University. She debuted as a poet in 1979 with the publication of Poet’Smoking a Cigarette’ (Dambaereul piuneun siin) and four other poems in Literature and Intellect. Collections of poetry include, On Another Star (Tto dareun byeoreseo), The Scarecrow My Father Erected (Abeojiga se-un heosuabi), Hell on Certain Star (Eoneu byeorui jiok), Please Look, Calendar Factory Manager (Dallyeok gongjangjangnim boseyo) and My Upanishad, Seoul (Naui upanisyadeu, Seoul). She won the 1992 Sowol Poetry Literature Award and 1996 Kim Suyeong Literature Award with her poem, ‘Pitiful Love Machine’ (Bulssanghan sarang gigye).

Kim’s virtuosity as a poet lies in her ability to create unique poetic images through experimental language while at the same time maintaining a deep interest in the so-called feminine writing rooted in female experiences and modes of being. In particular, she uses violent, often exaggerated expressions and images to protest death and injustice, revealing linguistic agility in the process. As can be seen in My Upanishad, Seoul, Kim is capable of both expanding her poetic imagination to embrace the entire world and finding traces of the external world in the interiority of the poet’s psych with microscopic vision. Such vision, however, is not a mere instance of investigative penetration, but yet another manifestation of her desire to breakdown the limits of her body or the boundaries between inner and external world. Her frank and straightforward language endows corporeality to her imagination.