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Have You Been Feeling Blue These Days?

by Kim Eon Hee

Translated by Eunsong Kim, Sung Gi Kim



About the Author

Kim Eon Hee was born in 1953 in Jinju, Gyeongsang Province. She is the author of five volumes of poetry. Her first collection Modern Ars Poetica was published in 1989. Followed by, Trunk, The Girl who Sleeps Under a Withering Cherry Tree, Unexpected Response, and her latest from 2016 The Man I Miss. First published in 2011, Have You Been Feeling Blue These Days?, is her fourth poetry collection, and the first of her books’ to be translated into English.

Eunsong Kim is an Assistant Professor in the English Department at Northeastern University. Her essays on literature, digital cultures, and art criticism have appeared and are forthcoming in: Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies, Scapegoat, Lateral, The New Inquiry, Model View Culture and in the book anthologies, Poetics of Social Engagement, and Reading Modernism with Machines. Her poetry has been published in: Brooklyn Magazine, West Branch, Denver Quarterly, Seattle Review, Feral Feminisms, Minnesota Review, Interim, Iowa Review amongst others. In 2015 Flying Object published the first set of her pamphlet series, Copy Paper: Ream 1. She was awarded Yale University’s Poynter Fellowship in 2016 and was the recipient of a 2015 Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant for the arts forum contemptorary, which she co-founded and co-edits.

Sung Gi Kim is an award-winning journalist and photographer who writes about Asian affairs with a focus on the Korean Peninsula. He is a Seoul correspondent and producer for Thomson Reuters. He was part of a team that produced a documentary on South Korea’s education system, which won silver at the 2016 New York Festivals. His work has been published in The Sunday Times, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Nikkei Asian Review and United Press International.

Have You Been Feeling Blue These Days


Sung Gi Kim’s and Eunsong Kim’s deft, nuanced, and unmannered translations of Kim Eon Hee’s poems introduce a genuinely exciting poet to the English-speaking world, one whose work reveals for us the limitations of our conceptions of what poetry is and the colonial legacies that structure our basic concepts of poetry, such as the gendered and raced expectations of the poetic speaker and of what counts as “experimental” writing. Kim’s poetry, as the translators write, is “unafraid of graphic disappointment or the pits”: she brilliantly violates our idea of what is acceptable for an Asian female poet to say out loud. The backdrop to Kim’s playful “absurdist” poetry is the neoliberal and neocolonial context of contemporary South Korea and its relationship to the United States, the two countries in the Kims’ words, “economic and political collaborators.” They rightly describe Kim Eon Hee’s poetry as “an unexpectedly politicized space,” as, equally so, are their translations—and, indeed, all poetry and all translations.

Dorothy Wang

author of Thinking Its Presence: Form, Race, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry

In Have You Been Feeling Blue These Days? Kim Eon Hee writes compellingly against the grain of neocolonialist, neoliberal K-culture, producing a poetry that grapples towards weakness, the Korean undercommons, language’s and life’s true, failed becoming-in-the-world. Mirroring Kim’s practice, Sung Gi Kim and Eunsong Kim brilliantly record their own anxiety and impasse as and in translation, in the introduction and the body of the poems themselves: the result is a resonant and clarifying “semblance of feeling…we can witness only outside of language.”

John Keene

author of Counternarratives and translator of works by Hilda Hilst, Alain Mabanckou among other