ISBN# 9781950268085 (6.75 x 8, 224pp, paperback)
Winner of the Big Other Award in Translation
Formally audacious and remarkably compelling, Yi Sang’s works were uniquely situated amid the literary experiments of world literature in the early twentieth century and the political upheaval of 1930s Japanese occupied Korea. Presenting the work of the influential Korean modernist master, award- winning poets and translators Don Mee Choi, Jack Jung, Sawako Nakayasu, and Joyelle McSweeney have carefully assembled poems, essays, and stories that ricochet off convention in a visionary and daring response to personal and national trauma, reminding us that to write from the avant garde is a form of civil disobedience.
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Overflowing with “pungent ink” and “liquid silver,” the dove-white pages of this decadent volume are filled with profound doubles, mysterious riddles, “murderous” lines, a blaze of numbers, and the germy ache of disease…This book is a rebellion against colonial violence. Carry it around under your shirt. Like a stethoscope, hold the cold mirror against your skin. A most welcome shield in these fiery times of protest.
—Paul Cunningham, Kenyon Review
It demonstrates how the legacy of a poet is always in the process of becoming, as their works are woven into new historical and socio-linguistic sites.
—Jae Won Edward Chung, Asymptote Journal
In the end, Yi Sang: Selected Works is not a book to speed through, but digest in pieces, and each historical cross-reference or annotation will send a reader back to the works to think anew on parallels between his time and ours: incurable illness, the highs and lows of love, and a writer’s regret of the shortness of time.
—Betsy Aoki, International Examiner
Yi’s work is every bit as otherworldly as André Breton’s.
Yi Sang (1910-1937) was a painter, architect, poet and writer of 1930s Korea, when Korean peninsula was under Japanese colonial rule. Yi Sang wrote and published in both Korean and Japanese until his early death from tuberculosis at the age of twenty-seven, after imprisonment by Japanese police for thought crimes in Tokyo. His work shows innovative engagement with European modernism, especially that of Surrealism and Dada. He is considered one of the most experimental writers of Korean modernism.