Videos

"No One Writes Back" by Jang Eun-jin
No One Writes Back is a beautiful gem that works its slow magic on you over the course of 152 numbered paragraphs of which the shortest is only three words, at least in the English translation. The blurb on the back of the book rather undersells it, pitching Jang’s writing as “…this sly update of the picaresque novel.” I had to look up what a picaresque novel was, and still have no idea why it might need a sly update. This novel can in fact easily stand on its own without being put in a particular literary context. And unusually...
"The Twentieth Century" by Kim Nam Jo
The Twentieth Century I loved the Twentieth Century. I met my life as my betrothed and through my life-studies (fated to begin most miserably on fields of war and death) I was awakened to pure and passionate yearning and the nobility of life. I loved the Twentieth Century. I loved its shuddering, suffering, and trembling hope. I loved the sublime loneliness of my contemporaries, those talented people, distant as stars and quite as beautiful, with their superabundant civilizations and deeply thoughtful intellectual traditions. I felt greatly honored to be graced by their light. I loved the Twentieth Century. I loved...
"Heartache" by Kim Nam Jo
Heartache “I am sick,” my heart said, but Silence had not yet matured, so that voice was faint. Later, When my heart said, “I am sick, gravely sick.” Because silence had matured I knew what it had said. My heart said, “I have melted From the pierced pains of the arrow That each became their own scales and tones As if notes in a symphony From a melody of a solemn song But the concert is an abyss That can only be heard in silence.” My heart also said, “Longings, regrets, destitution, pain The everyday life of man These break...
"Trees and Shadows" by Kim Nam Jo
Trees and Shadows Trees and shadows. Trees look down upon shadows. Shadows look up toward trees. Even as night settles, even as rain descends shadows are there. Trees know it.
A Writer’s Back
I know his back quite well. In our early twenties we were roommates, and I’m sure I saw his back more often than his face (to exaggerate ever so slightly). He sat in front of his desk, facing the wall, and wrote all the time. When I got home drunk, there he would be at his desk, tapping away at something under the light of a small lamp. When I woke up he would still be writing. Had he been up all night? He very well may have. No surprise when he became a novelist, that one. Recently he published...
My Small Steps Towards Foreign Fiction by Kim Yeonsu
A while ago, I started taking Japanese classes at a language school near my home. It is a small school offering only Japanese, located on the seventh floor of a sparsely frequented building in the outskirts of Seoul, a fact that I like. The first class I went to only had three students including me. When I was an actual schoolboy I used to nod off in class, but in this one I’m constantly kept on my toes since I never know when the teacher will ask a question. So I’m coming along with my Japanese better than I thought...
My Small Steps Towards Foreign Fiction
A while ago, I started taking Japanese classes at a language school near my home. It is a small school offering only Japanese, located on the seventh floor of a sparsely frequented building in the outskirts of Seoul, a fact that I like. The first class I went to only had three students including me. When I was an actual schoolboy I used to nod off in class, but in this one I’m constantly kept on my toes since I never know when the teacher will ask a question. So I’m coming along with my Japanese better than I thought...
I Went My Way, with Someone Beside Me
Sometimes I get the feeling that Ae-ran thinks with her eyes. Big, dark eyes turned mischievously on the world, taking a good, long, deep, lingering look, before turning inwards to herself. Storing up what they had just seen, no doubt. Only then does she put words to the objects of that good, long, deep, lingering gaze, taking her own sweet time producing each sentence. Sometimes it feels like that when she’s talking, too. If you ever catch Ae-ran suddenly falling silent in mid-sentence, blinking slowly and seemingly staring off into space, rest assured that what you are witnessing is nothing...
Songs of Life and Salvation: A Conversation with Poet Kim Nam Jo
I met poet Kim Nam Jo in her study in the picturesque environs of the Eocheon Lake Farm in Hwaseong City, Gyeonggi Province. It was an invaluable opportunity to listen to the poet share insights from her long and distinguished career. Poetry was at the heart of our conversation as Kim spoke with great candor and warmth about humanity and the world. Yoo Sungho : In a world of perpetual war and endless natural disasters, I believe it is all the more necessary that we as a generation think about literature and the arts in greater depth. First of all,...

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