By Don Mee Choi
Winner of the National Book Award
Finalist for the Four Quartets Prize
Woven from poems, prose, photographs, and drawings, Don Mee Choi's DMZ Colony is a tour de force of personal and political reckoning set over eight acts. Evincing the power of translation as a poetic device to navigate historical and linguistic borders, it explores Edward Said's notion of "the intertwined and overlapping histories" in regards to South Korea and the United States through innovative deployments of voice, story, and poetics. Like its sister book, Hardly War, it holds history accountable, its very presence a resistance to empire and a hope in humankind.
"Reading Don Mee Choi’s DMZ Colony is an experience that plunges into a theatre of words, a theatre of pain in which words are everything… The poet’s presence moves among history, like a phantom without a face… each reading of DMZ Colony enacts a transition of history from within, which calls for individuals to break the silence—the last and the most essential border one can carry."
Pareys Liu Yiyi, Cha Journal
"Choi admits to being a “compulsive translator,” but some things cannot be translated or even spoken. The scribbles stand in for the unspeakable...they say, our rage and grief are not in excess. It’s excess as a corrective."
Elisa Gabbert, New York Times
"Choi’s DMZ Colony is as much an entity as it is a place, a meta-discursive domain wherein its throng of unlikely inhabitants—endangered birds, political prisoners, orphans, refugees, all colonized subjects and outcasts of empire—are alternately declared and concealed. Collectively, they indeed amount to a colony of sorts, one that thrives off its own premise."
Jed Munson, Chicago Review of Books
"This way of seeing, at once prophetic and hardboiled, weaves through all her poetry."
E. Tammy Kim, Poetry Foundation
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Don Mee Choi is the author of the National Book Award winning collection DMZ Colony (Wave Books, 2020), Hardly War (Wave Books, 2016), The Morning News Is Exciting (Action Books, 2010), and several pamphlets of poems and essays. She is a recipient of fellowships from the MacArthur, Guggenheim, Lannan, and Whiting Foundations, as well as the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program. She has translated several collections of Kim Hyesoon’s poetry, including Autobiography of Death (New Directions, 2018), which received the International Griffin Poetry Prize.
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
ISBN# 9781940696959 (6.75x9, 152pp, paperback)
ISBN# 9781940696966 (6.75x9, 152pp, limited edition hardcover)