Three Poems

Yi Kyunglim

"A Tilt" (English)

"A Tilt" (Korean)

"Crows" (Korean)

"Women" (Korean)

Introduction to the three poems read in the original Korean by the poet Yi Kyunglim

Yi Kyunglim reads her three poems in the original Korean. “Crows” from her book of poems entitled (in English) Boxes and “Women” and “A Tilt” from a Korean collection whose title can be rendered in English as “A New Season Approaching: Devour It.”* In these poems as elsewhere she creates a poetic state in a language of essential reality, as opposed to cultural constructions, in which each poem is a stunning metaphor that conjures up an unconventional vision of reality.

Born in Munkyung, Kyungbuk Province, South Korea, in 1947 to a family of scholars, her childhood was blighted by the South Korean military regime, which persecuted her father as a communist sympathizer. While her father was on the run from the police, the poet and her family endured extreme economic deprivation. Her first published poems appeared in a prestigious literary journal, Literature and Criticism, in 1989. Since then, five of her poetry books have appeared: In Search of Connectives (1992), Crossroads Exist There Too (1995), A New Season Approaching: Devour It (1997, 2012 in English), Boxes (2005) and In My Body Is a Blue Tiger (2011). She has also published a story in verse, A Garden Known Only to Me, and a collection of essays, For Some Time I have Forgotten to Cry (2005). A few of her poems in English translation appear in Echoing Song: Contemporary Korean Women Poets (edited by Peter H. Lee, 2005).

—Wohlee Choe

* English translations of them appear in a collection consisting of poems selected from the two Korean books mentioned; it is also called A New Season Approaching: Devour It (Hawks Publishing, 2012).

Link to full pieces.


Yi Kyunglim, born in South Korea, first began publishing poems in the prestigious Korean literary journal Literature and Criticism. Her publications include poetry and essay collections: Looking for Connectives, Crossroads Even Here, A New Season Approaches: Devour It (English translation by Wolhee Choe and Robert E. Hawks) and Boxes.

Wolhee Choe, professor emerita of humanities at Polytechnic Institute of New York University, is also co-translator of Brief Songs of the Kisaeng: Courtesan Poetry of the Last Korean Dynasty, Day-Shine: Poems by Chong Hyun-jong and Windflower: Poems by Moon Chung-hee.

Robert E. Hawks, executive director of Hawks Publishing and author of two chapbooks of poetry, is also co-translator of Windflower: Poems by Moon Chung-hee.