• Book
  • English(English)

눈물이라는 뼈



    Title: Bones That Are Tears

    Author: Kim So-­‐yeon

    Genre: Poetry


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


  • About the book


       Bones That Are Tears is Kim So-­‐yeon’s third poetry book, and is composed of 49 poems in five parts. In this book, she blends the truths of life (reasons for living that the mind is unaware of or pretends not to know) with the most carefully-chosen and accurate words, and weaves them into songs. Songs that start with sadness but that don’t end sadly; songs about humans who don’t want humanity but eventually survive; ands ongs in which the truths that we must know for the survival of our mind are preserved intact.

    Part1, “To Not Be Human,” paradoxically urges the meaning of living as a human “who was destined to kill to survive” (from “Bones That Are Tears”), and Part 2, “Mirror and Window,” intensely describes the private pain of living as a woman. “Because of depression deepening as her age/and her malice to insult her depression/. . . /Not because of her aging body/but because of memories continuously increasing as her age/in the afternoon she has had a fatty heart” (“Inventing Pain”). Meanwhile, Part 3, “My Body That Becomes Transparent,” portrays the record of wounds and comforts produced by the routine of daily life that includes beginnings and break-­‐ups, remembrance and forgetfulness. “In the morning I woke up after dreaming that/I feel bright internally/Each single sense arrives at the next to me/.../My inner-­‐self permeates out through my body/a new-­‐born face appears before the mirror” (“Do You Talk about This Place Also in There?”). In “For the People Who Dareto Say They Are Us,”the poems of Part 4 express the power of friendship or we that help the poet endure harsh pain while livin gas a human, a woman, and an existence trapped in a body, and the meaning of living as a poet. “We admired self-­‐reproach and soon we regretted We admired our reckless valor a palm’s-­‐length more in this dawn when we committed regret,/...//We are in bed with our content faces We lie on our stomachs with our hands thrust under pillows Confining our hands like this as we lie side by side is our own directive implying we won’t hug each other at any cost” (“With Our Content Faces”).

    Then finally in Part 5, “Poetry Doesn’t Know,” the poet, as if reincarnated, is followed by the past lives of others that are experiencing an unfamiliar land. “Each time I take and get off the bus/I reincarnate//Beasts having stayed in the cave deep inside of my body/get off the bus one by one beforehand/and it surely happens I go one more stop and get off the bus” (“A Local Bus—From Bikaner to Jaisalmer”). Kim So-­‐yeon’s poet listens to the crying of the calm, transparent, and ardent people engraved inside her, instead of focusing on a master narrative that saves or creates. That is why her poetry has been reborn as “the residential space, hard to stay in butright and beautiful, where the truth with such a wide amplitude can stay intact, from the trivial truth of daily life to the urgent truth of an era” (critic Shin Hyoung-­‐cheol), and naturally Bones That Are Tears is named for this space. So, this book sings about the territory in which existences live entire intense, desperate lives. Sometimes the voice is “an object that seems to be me” (These Are Words a Human Should Say”), sometimes the voice is stubborn and stern in revealing the reality of life’s tragedies, and at other times the voice is tenderly attentive, with a secretive wit.

    About the author


       Born in Gyeongju in 1967, Kim So­‐yeon graduated from The Catholic University of Korea and received a master’s degree in Korean Language & Literature from the same university. She made her poetic debut in the quarterly Hyundae Poetry & Thought in 1993. She has published four collections of poetry (Running to the Extreme, Fatigue of Lights Pulls the Night, Bones That Are Tears, and A Mathematician’s Morning), and two collections of essays, Mind Dictionary and The World of Shi-­oat (a Korean pun; shi-­‐oat or “ㅅ” is a character in the Korean Hangul alphabet, but “shi” is the Koreanword for poetry and “oat” is the word forclothes).

    In the middle of the 1990s, just after her debut, Kim So­‐yeon’s early poems were full of a young poet’s self-‐consciousness, solitude and alienation as she stood against the center of her world with unfiltered anger and fever. Her first poetry book, Running to the Extreme, fully expressed a tenacious voice translating wounds into words. Ten years later, her second poetry book, Fatigue of Lights Pulls the Night, introduced an poetic eye and voice that is simultaneously composed and deep, speaking about the weight of time and the basic attitudes of people and objects. She constantly keeps her interests in things beyond life and existence, comparing writing poetry with facing shadows through “The Prose about Shadows” an essay on poetry included in the same book. In Bones That Are Tears, her third poetry book, she states, “A poet is a person who records the sounds of nonexistent ability and existent memories, sounds that creak like rusty bones andthen become transparent, disappear, and become true” (from Poet’s Note on the back cover of the book). Through vivid, sensuous images and fine metaphors, she expresses many questions she asks herself about existence. In her fourth poetry book, A Mathematician’s Morning, more various others appear in her poems because her interests and movements have reached more specific places of life. Many voices, including groans, screams, or prayers, provide
    access to stories about people, society and the world.

    About the translators


       YoungShil Ji and Daniel T. Parker are a married translation team living in Daegu, South Korea. We, Day by Day (expected 2018) by Eun-­‐Young Jin is their third book published by White Pine Press (Buffalo, N.Y.), following Wild Apple by HeeDuk Ra (2015) and Someone Always in the Corner of My Eye by BoSeon Shim (2016). A volume of selected poems by the poet Huh Sukyung will be published by Asia Publishers in 2018 as part of the K-­‐Poet Series. Ji graduated with a degree in English Language and Literature from Keimyung University, and is a translator specializing in contemporary Korean poetry. Parker is an assistant professor for the English Language and Literature Department at Keimyung University, where he has taught since 2001. He also taught at four universities or colleges in the USA before coming to Korea, and was a newspaper journalist for 13 years.

    Media Response/Awards Received


    • The 10th Nojak Literary Award (2010): "She showed the new way of poetic flow through the fresh poetic-developement and clear images."

    -The 10th Nojak Literary Award Steering Committee




    • The 57th Hyundae Literary Award (2011): "Vivid images and hidden phatos beteween the lines are clean and neat. Neither squalid nor damp. This poetic virtue is found in her most of poems, including "Okinawa, Tunisia, Francis Jammes." This situation is the same, needless to say with "Like a Person who Breaks Up" and "Even Through I Was Born," even with the slightlty pedantic poem "Pain of Becoming Light Green." The gloomy confirmation of living sadly as a human is mingled with a momentary feeling of freedom. This could happen because she keeps thinking in diversified ways, but sometimes poems that seem to come from a different poet coexist blithly. I hope her reflection through fierce self-awareness towards the virtue of her works and her resolute efforts of removing rendundancies can be embodied as a lively reality."

    -Yu Jong-ho, literary critic and a member of the final evaluation committee of the 57t Hyundae Litrary Award




    "Kim So-yeon's poetry is "the poetry one step ahead of silence" (quotation from the late poet Kim Soo-young). Even in her political poem, "Okinawa, Tunisia, Francis Jammes" about the struggle in Okinawa and the Jasmine Revolution  in Tunisia, at the moment words are about to be verbalized as poetic subjects, she knows how to suddenly stop her poem with her own aesthetics, rejecting the hackneyed styles of conventional resistance poems." 

    -Lee Si-young, poet and a member of the final evaluation committee of the 57th Hyundae Literary Awards




    • Participated in the Seoul International Writer's Festival in 2014. 

    • The 12th Lee Yuksa Poetry Award (2015): with the sense of supremly transparent and fresh language, and sometimes with a gust of indecipherale words, connect the previous generation that purposefully resist with the new generation that acts recklessly with no purpose

    ​-The selection committee of the 16th Lee Yuksa Poetry Award




    • Qualified for the finals of the 16th Midang-Hwang Soon-won Literary Award (2016).



Translated Books (2)

News from Abroad (1)