Cathy Park Hong and Lynn Xu on the Poetry of Choi Seungja

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In this week’s episode, Cathy Park Hong and Lynn Xu talk about the startling directness of Korean poet Choi Seungja and the humbling experience of translation. The conversation ranges from Nietzsche to South Korea in the 1980s, and from Paul Celan to capitalism. As Xu says, Choi’s poems contemplate “living with death as one’s companion,” but instead of indulging in nihilism, her poems are often surprisingly hopeful. Choi Seungja is one of the most influential feminist poets in South Korea, and her book Phone Bells Keep Ringing For Me (Action Books) has recently been published in English, thanks to Cathy Park Hong and her cotranslator Won-Chung Kim.

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