The rhythm of my body is the same as my mother tongue. It is in this rhythm where I find sanctity, that I can return to my mother who is everywhere in the universe.— Kim Hyesoon
The most terrific Kim Hyesoon quotes that will transform you to a better person
Women are foils to men in South Korea.
It is hard for women to take a lead role even in NGOs for political resistance. Men think women should do trivial things on the margins. They think women should be merely a seasoning for a dish. I feel anger and sorrow seeing this.
Men think women should do trivial things on the margins.
They think women should be merely a seasoning for a dish. I feel anger and sorrow seeing this.
We have certain rules for traditional lyric poetry in Korea.
I twist my body, confused by what to say and how to act, facing these rules. Confronting traditional lyricism, I speak with a bare body without the tattoos of culture on it.
Mother does not exist, like water that has given life to a flower and then disappeared. Mothers live somewhere after giving birth to us.
Our mothers who have gone are buried in our bodies.
It can be said that we were born with dead mothers in our body.
It is difficult to disturb the common usage of Korean that is bent to the perspective of a male-oriented society. Korean society is based on both a politics and history that have been disguised as a solid society of solid male poems, a solid written language, fixed rules of how to write literature, and a narrative language.
As a sick kid, I always looked out the window.
The objects of my observation were the sun, the seasons, the wind, crazy people, and my grandfather's death. During my long period of observation, I felt that something like poems were filling up my body.
The language of poetry is not stuck in place.
Nothing can own language. I think, however, the genre of poetry itself is very feminine and motherly.
Women are foils to men. It is hard for women to take a lead role even in NGOs for political resistance.
Since the boundary of the world of poetry is fluid, the language in it is also fluid. Hence, the language that is outside of the poetry world, namely the language that is not the language of poetry, cannot go into the poetry world.
We carve on our body what society teaches us and continue this task, not knowing the identity they force us to have. This identity is carved on our faces and our skins. Not knowing our bodies have become "the paper made of human meat," we stuff our bodies and make them a theater where cultural symbols or suppressed symbols play.
Speaking as an outsider is the most authentic voice for a poet.
Poets who have one hundred thousand or one million readers [as many South Korean poets do] might not be a real, authentic poet.
Alienation between the content and form happens frequently in my poems because I obstinately carry on dismantling my body, an act you can also call "dismantling delusion." I think that after I dismantle my female body, I can finally dismantle established lyric poems.
My body is full of graves. A sepulcher is dug up, and a young girl comes out of it with her dusty hands in tears. A lady who is a young girl and an old girl at the same time feels the presence of the young girl. I feel that the 15-year-old me and the 50-year-old me come out of the sepulcher through an illegal excavation.
Women who have been disappeared by violence are howling.
The voices of disappeared women are echoing. I sing with these voices.
Poems are ways of saying you clearly remember the day of your death and your tomb. When I am writing poetry, I relive my days when a woman inside me dies many times.
You cannot call a poem female just because it is written by a woman.
Nevertheless, I think attempts to find femininity in female bodies, life, and thinking, attempts to find a way for women to speak, will improve widely in Korea.
As a university student, I tried hard to write poems in Korean.
It was at that time that I foresaw my death and the world's death. I think my poems started at that time.
When I was at university, the policemen used to measure how short the women's mini-skirts were and how long guys' hair was. We were living under a government that considers people to be soldiers.
When anger and sorrow overflow, sometimes it becomes poetry.
Mother is a synonym for abandonment and death.
Comparing this synonym to water, it is like poured-out water. I call it mother, the identity that I cannot identify.
The grotesque in my poems is the motion I use to put myself and the grotesque world together. So the miserable images I use in my poems are the same as the letters I send into the miserable world.
When I became a poet, the Korean literary world expected women poets to sing passively of love. Naturally, this was not written anywhere, but this rule existed nonetheless. Consequently, I received plenty of serious criticism.
If you propose there is a feminism problem in Korea, somebody would point out that you are bringing up antiquated issues. No one acknowledges that discrimination against women is still widespread.
In poetry, rhythm is a priority above everything else.
South Korea is one of the worst countries when it comes to opportunity for women in social activities and employment. To my disgust, in certain communities in Korea, you cannot even imagine how severe sex discrimination is.
I came to grotesque language in the patriarchal culture under the dictatorship.
The body that was broken into pieces is a sick body. I put the disease of this world and my sick body together.
There is a specific kind of day when I feel like writing poems.
My senses become really sharp. This day is when I feel as if I am drowning into the abandonment of death.
Poetry is something that disturbs the mainstream with minor things and it is something that breaks down active discrimination with passive things, and it can break down something that polishes the filthy things with filthy things.
Once, I compared poetry to mothers in my book called To Write as a Woman, because my mother is someone who captures me in her body and gave birth to me out of her desire but washed her hands of me after giving birth to me as a poet.
If you happen to live in Korea, you might always suffer from anger towards people in power, because of political and social problems. I felt gloomy under this social dictatorship. Looking back, I feel like I never saw a sunrise in Seoul.
If you happen to live in Korea, you might always suffer from anger towards people in power, because of political and social problems. I felt gloomy under this social dictatorship. Looking back, I feel like I never saw a sunrise in Seoul. When I was at university, the policemen used to measure how short the women's mini-skirts were and how long guys' hair was. We were living under a government that considers her people to be soldiers.
I have to reach "the poetry condition" to write.
Then it is as if the border around me is thinned or blurred or erased or disappeared or dead.
If someone asks, Is anyone alive? Break, your, head, open, and, show, your, ten, ta, cle.
Korean feminism has been swept away by popular culture.
It became a sort of old-fashioned trend or a joke.
I did not have any role model. I could not learn anything from the female voice that male poets used, a voice which is more "feminine" than female. Nor could I learn anything from ancient female poetry that only sang about love, the feeling of farewell and longing for others.
Women in Korean myths disappear after giving birth. The reason they were born is to produce sons.
Poems are a dance of language that comes out when my body taps into the rhythm of language. Rhythm gets us naked and exposes our selves completely.
It seems Korean women are enjoying a passive and fragile status, intoxicated by appearance. Not only feminism, but any serious discourse ends up being swept away by popular culture in Korea.
I am a tomb robber who is robbing my own tomb.
Things from my tomb are exhibited under the radiant sun. Every time it happens I feel crude.
Korean feminism is on the brink of death.
Korea has a less clear boundary between popular literature and serious literature than in other countries. I feel that feminism is abandoned like a product that was a craze in the past.
In my opinion, poets talk through the symptoms of disease.
These symptoms of disease are predictions, screams, and songs.
In Korea, a woman must first obey her father, then her husband when she becomes an ajuma, and finally obey her son as a halmoni. Any woman who violates or lives outside of these roles is called a ch'angyŏ (prostitute).
The body of poetry is nothing but energy, waves, rhythm.
When I first started to write poetry, I used to feel as if my tongue would go numb.
My tough and grotesque images were thrown on the roads and were stepped on by my critics, and I was talked about with scorn. I felt regret that readers only seemed to like something they were accustomed to.
Living in Korea as a girl meant living under a lot of discrimination and limitation. It was the same in my university and in the Korean literary world I am involved in now.
My mom does not exist anymore, and I cannot see my mother in myself.
To me, the word "mother" is the synonym for the words "parting" or "separation" or "farewell."