Kim Hyesoon was born in Uljin, South Korea and was raised by her grandmother. South Korean female poets are traditionally expected to write in a passive voice using beautiful images, but Hyesoon felt she “… had no choice but to invent a new voice … to escape from the traditional Korean way of writing poetry and the prison of metaphor (Guernica).” Hyesoon’s poetry deals with the real lives and experiences of South Korean women by using powerful imagery with strong, uncompromising, even sometimes grotesque language. She was the first woman to win the Kim Su-yŏng Literature and Midang Awards, South Korea’s biggest poetry prizes. She was also the first South Korean poet to win the Griffin Prize. Poet Don Mee Choi has translated her books I’m OK, I’m Pig! and an Autobiography of Death into English. Kim Hyesoon lives in Seoul and teaches at the Seoul Institute of the Arts.

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