• Book
  • English(English)

오늘은 잘 모르겠어 (심보선 시집)

  • Author
  • Country
    Republic of Korea
  • Publisher
  • Published Year
  • Genre
    Korean literature - Contemporary poetry



    Title: Today, I’m Not So Sure

    Author: Shim Bo-seon

    Genre: Korean Literature, Contemporary Poetry


    LTI Korea staff: Alex Baek ( / +82-2-6919-7741)


  • About the book

    In his recent interview with Jon Thomson, a poet and an editor of Free Verse Editions, Shim
    Bo-seon stated, “If my first collection was something of a monologue, my second is more
    of a conversation. My third collection, which has not been translated into English yet, features
    more characters and varied stories. My poetry collections began as monologues, but as a
    wider range of characters appear within them, they are slowly morphing into something
    broader and richer.” As he said, the poems in his latest poetry collection Today, I’m Not So
    Sure (2017) extend over the boundaries of daily life, society, nationality, and language, with
    the voices of familiar yet distinctive narrators. His poems, which are distinctive in their use of
    rhythms, syntax, and vivid imagery, even remind of Korean oral folktales. While maintaining
    his wit and simplicity, Shim allows readers to transcend time and space, pondering the
    moments or events that might have happened, are happening, or will be happening, in every
    corner of the world or beyond it.

    About the author

    Shim Bo-seon, born in Seoul in 1970, made his poetic debut when his poem
    “Landscape“ won the Chosun Ilbo Spring Literary Contest in 1994. Shim has published three
    collection of poems, including Fifty Second Without Sorrow (2008), Someone Always in the
    Corner of My Eye (2011), and Today, I’m Not So Sure (2017). As a poet-critic and sociologist,
    he also published a prose collection Geueulin yesul, or Burnt Art (2013) and appeared in
    collaborative anthologies. He has received the 16th Kim Junseong Literature Prize in 2009
    and the 11th Nojak Literary Award in 2011. He is currently working as a professor of arts and
    cultural management at the Kyung Hee Cyber University and serving as an editor for F, the
    arts and humanities magazine.

    Media Response/Awards Received

    In his first collection of poetry, Shim Bo-seon delved into the relationship between poetry and
    politics, which was one of his deepest concerns as a poet and a scholar in the field of
    sociology. The poems in the collection examined the ordinary lives of individuals and the
    relationships of the poetic narrative with the others and the world, mostly in the form of a
    monologue. His second collection also captured the everyday life of ordinary people, but
    through the voices of more various narrators and their conversation. With his unique poetic
    language characterized by distinctive combinations of simple, modest, succinct, and witty
    words, Shim evoked empathy and a sense of solidarity from readers. These two collections
    of poetry have been published in English in 2016.
    In Today, I’m No So Sure, the latest and third collection of poems, the poet uses
    poetic language as a medium to travel across a broader space and undefinable time frame.
    His ordinary, uncharacteristic subjects guide readers to a poetic commune, and his wit,
    without relying on self-deprecation or biting criticisms, springs from the succinct and intimate
    descriptions of them. But what is particularly noteworthy in this collection is the unparalleled
    poems with compelling narratives, lyrical structure, and rhymes, which reminds of fables,
    folktales, and Minyo, or Korean folk songs. It’s as if he is translating the words of humans
    rooted in both reality and imagination into a new poetic language.
    Yet all the while, Shim records the lives of ordinary people and their unheard voice—
    “The Station Where the Brown Bag was Placed” is a dedication to a 19-year-old mechanic
    who died while fixing a platform screen door, adapted from “Still Life with Toy Balloon” by
    Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska—as well as intimate moments he spent with poets,
    philosophers, revolutionaries, and friends through their works, including Chilean poet and
    singer-songwriter Víctor Jara, French poet Claude Mouchard, English philosopher Jeremy
    Bentham, and Greek philosopher Aristotle. Shim also undertakes linguistic experiments with
    his poems including “As If I Don’t Have a Tongue,” and expands the possibilities of poetry
    with a 35-page-long poem “Dear Brown, From Brown” taking the form of a letter. And in the
    last poem “Redundancy”—the original title is a transliteration of the English word
    “Redundancy”—written in sublime, beautiful archaic Korean, he inspires readers to meditate
    on the language itself and rediscover it.

Translated Books (6)

News from Abroad (2)