Spirited and restlessly imaginative, Shin's poems weave a lyrical collage of ancient fragments, fairytale, and both Korean and American history.
"[These] accumulated poems [are] a smoldering tragedy, a heady descent, songs from a pit where what glints may be gems or the moon off snake scales." Douglas Kearney
Sun Yung Shin's poems animate the elements of the epic poem and Korean history across a dystopian dreamscape of fairy tale and folklore. Filled with pithy observations and striking lyrics, this collection explores alienation, moral isolation, and nationhood.
Sun Yung Shin is the author of Skirt Full of Black, which won the 2008 Asian American Literary Award for poetry, and the children's book Cooper's Lesson, and is the co-editor of Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption. Raised in Chicago, Illinois, Shin currently lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota, and frequently returns to Korea.
Sun Yung Shin was born in Seoul and grew up in Chicago. She is author of the children's book Cooper's Lesson and an editor of Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption. After living in Boston and Pittsburgh, she moved to the Twin Cities and now teaches at the Perpich Center for Arts Education.
Changeling Which Way | Gichicheon | Yankeetown The Donor Sibling Registry Kingdom of the Light, Kingdom of the Dark In the End Suffrage Assassin Are You Here In the News Again, the Language Cycle In the End Uri Nara (Riot Police) (Pyongtaek, U.S. Military Base Expansion) (Naju, Weeding at the Base of the Pear Tree) (Demilitarized Zone) (Mountain, Jirisan National Park) (The North Korean Observatory) (Outside the Gate at Camp Humphreys, U.S. Military Base) (Budae Chigae Near the Gi Ji Cheon / "Garbage" Stew near the Prostitution Camptown) Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU): Headquarters, Seoul, August 2007 Itinerary Ode to the Frog Bridegroom The Brother Ask Us to Pray Isolette Political Prisoner Marching Upon Seeing Former "Comfort Women" Not (Allowed by the Korean Police) in Front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul Waking The Daughter's Semi-Daily Violin Practice Available Easy American Missionary Seoul, December 1883 August 1910 The 1816 Voyages of the Alceste and Lyra Superstition 1895, the King of Korea is a Vassal of China Coal and Iron and Gold Here Not Then Ordinary Geography Territorial Dispute August 1950, 8,000 Korean Replacements Clay & Fire Bongeun-Sa Temple, Samseong-Dong of a Gangnam-Gu District Memories of a Murder, 2003, Directed by Boon Jong-Ho The Tourist's Prayer Bead Bracelet A Thanksgiving Series Revere Your Enemies The World in Surrender Dowry, Rights and Obligations A Curious Genealogy
"Shin's poems enact what happens when the violence and erasure of history collide with the poetic impulse to make meaning... Much of [her] work reads like redactions, offering fragments to be explored, investigated and interrogated, making her reader equal partner in the creation of meaning."--Star Tribune "Shin's work strikes me as more cerebral than lyrical...Even her less experimental work...has a prose quality of fragments from old myths."--Twin Cities Daily Planet "In her new collection Rough, and Savage, Sun Yung Shin draws from Robert Pinsky's translation of Dante's Inferno, the Korean War, and events from her own life to create a multi-layered archipelago combining the past and the future and mimicking or redefining the epic poem. As we follow Shin deeper down into her inferno, themes of separation, possession, and ignorance collide with images of war and violence."--Rain Taxi "Revisiting many of the themes from Skirt Full of Black, Shin takes us further into the realm of myth, exploring the history of Korea and the people who have inhabited and ruled it. Blending academic research with her own composed text, Shin calls our attention to the erasures in history--erasures both deliberate and unconscious."--Hazel and Wren "Without a doubt Rough, and Savage is the most moving book of poetry I have read all year... Her work is like a haunting yet intriguing fairy tale exploring thoughts about Korean North and South and the rising Western presence."--The Corresponder "Rough, and Savage is a challenging and riveting exploration of such intimate yet universal issues ... delicately executed and beautifully written."--Eleven Eleven "In this inspired follow-up to Skirt Full of Black, she presents explosively imaginative poems that are never untethered from experiential reality. It's Shin's genius to seamlessly wed the imaginary, the dream-wrought, and the mythical with the historical, the hard and factual."--ALIST Magazine "[R]ough, and Savage ... is simultaneously alluring and caustic, lovely and mournful, ambitious in both its moral ambition and literary invention."--Knight Arts Blog "Shin's troubling second collection explores dangerous knowledge, transgression, bad beginnings. Thus, its pages writhe with snakes--'a moving stripe,' a 'tail like a whip'--and punishment. Strands of Dante's Inferno, which Shin entwines throughout Rough, and Savage, remind us that suffering, regret and horror have a geography and, as such, can be mapped. Yet, for Shin, to know is an erasure ('even as I write, Korea has ceased to exist ...') making these accumulated poems a smoldering tragedy, a heady descent, songs from a pit where what glints may be gems or the moon off snake scales. Brave reader, walk to Shin's hard light." --Douglas Kearney "Sun Yung Shin is creating a new mythology. As with most origin stories there is hidden danger, primeval chaos and uncertain outcome. Fortunately Shin has enough emotional courage, formal daring and adroit musicality to navigate through the rough and savage woods at the beginning of Creation."--Kazim Ali
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