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Gender in Contemporary Korean Poetry

Kwajŏng: Celebrating the Process of Translating Korean Literature

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Join translator Soje in reading and discussing Lee Soho's works!

Thursday, April 29, 2021
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM (Pacific Time)

Gender inequality, gender expression, and the persistence of physical and sexual violence against women are hot button issues in contemporary South Korea. As young authors break onto the scene and face these issue head-on, queer and feminist literary publications have seen an increase in popularity among readers and garnered positive critical reception. At the forefront of bringing these works across into English is the translator Soje. Making their debut in 2020 with the poetry collection Unexpected Vanilla by Lee Hyemi (Tilted Axis Press), 2021 sees the publication of Soje's translations of Catcalling, a poetry collection by Lee Soho (Open Letter Books) and To The Warm Horizon, a novel by Choi Jin-young (Honford Star). The Kwajŏng series continues its exploration into the world of literary translation by inviting Soje to share the context of the works and authors they translate and the unique challenges faced during the translation process.

The event will be a bilingual reading of selected poems from Lee Soho's Catcalling and discussion of themes of gender in contemporary Korean literature by translator Soje and discussant Professor Judy Han. The discussion will highlight the creativity of the process of translating such urgent contemporary works of Korean literature into english and how the issue of gender impact contemporary Korean society.

Catcalling is Lee Soho's debut work from 2018 and winner of the prestigious Kim Su-young Literary Award. The collection tells the story of the speaker-protagonist Kyungjin in five parts as she navigates and exposes the violence of a patriarchal world that presents new brutalities at every stage of her life. The assemblage of poems ranges in style from lyric, to prose, to concrete and experimental forms building a strange and vivid picture of a treacherous society through which Kyungjin must traverse. 

To attend the event, please register here.

Soje is the translator of Lee Hyemi's Unexpected Vanilla (Tilted Axis Press, 2020), Choi Jin-young's To the Warm Horizon (Honford Star, 2021), and Lee Soho's Catcalling (Open Letter Books, 2021). They also make chogwa, a quarterly e-zine featuring one Korean poem and multiple English translations. Soje graduated magna cum laude in English from the University of California, Berkeley, where they won the Dorothy Rosenberg Prize in Lyric Poetry and scholarship for their research on Oh Jung-hee and Toni Morrison. They received a two-year fellowship to attend the Literature Translation Institute of Korea's Translation Academy and served as Modern Poetry in Translation's 2020 Writer in Residence.

Ju Hui Judy Han is a cultural geographer and Assistant Professor in Gender Studies at UCLA, where she teaches classes on gender and sexuality, Korean studies, (im)mobilities, and comics. Her research and publications concern conservative religious formations, queer activism, and protest cultures. Judy grew up in Seoul and has lived and worked in Los Angeles, Berkeley/Oakland, Vancouver, and Toronto.

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Duration: 01:35:02


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Sponsor(s): Center for Korean Studies

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