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In the Oxymoronic World

by Kim Hyesoon (South Korea) on May 4th, 2010

I am many inside poetry. “I” as a subject, the cognizant “I” is deconstructed. I have never once lived as a single “I” inside poetry. The confusion of the multiple “I” is what makes me write poetry. I am a mother, a young unmarried woman, an angel, a prostitute. I am an infant just born, an old woman near death. When I am a mother, “I” the young unmarried woman is ill, and when I am a young woman, the mother is ill. Like the children who defy school and run out the gate, multiple “I”s dangle from the open skirt of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. “You” inside poetry also dangle from the skirt.

As a woman, I observe the identity inside me that rises and falls, waxes and wanes, lives and dies like the moon. Therefore my body’s form is infinitely fractal. I live according to the way that fractal form is read, feeling the path through which life flows in and out. I love, therefore I become myself. I see the “I” inside you.

As a woman I open my body not to men but to the context of Eros. Such love has spilled out from my body before the beginning of time and it is from there that my voice of existence bursts forth. The essence of my existence does not have a fixed form; it has a moving form, always circulating but never repeating itself.

Therefore as woman, as poet, I dance and rescue the things that have fallen into the coil of magnificent silence; I wake the present, and let the dead things be dead.

Extract from a piece first published in 2010 in Azalea: Journal of Korean Culture and Literature. Translated by Choi Don Mee.

Read more about Kim Hyesoon on and Read poems by Kim Hyesoon in Action Yes, Double Room, Guernica and Full Tilt. Read reviews of Kim Hyesoon’s poems in translation on,,,, and

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