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Don Mee Choi

Mirror Nation

Mirror Nation

By Don Mee Choi

  • Elegiac and haunting, Mirror Nation by Don Mee Choi completes the KOR-US trilogy, along with Hardly War and the National Book Award–winning DMZ Colony.

    Much like Proust's madeleine, a spinning Mercedes Benz ring outside Choi's Berlin window prompts a memory of her father on the Glienicker Bridge between Berlin and Potsdam, which in turn becomes catalyst for delving into the violent colonial and neocolonial contemporary history of South Korea, with particular attention to the horrors of the Gwangju Uprising of May 1980. Here, photographs, news footage, and cultural artifacts commingle with a poetry of grief that is both personal and collective. Inspired by W. G. Sebald and Walter Benjamin as well as Choi’s DAAD Artists residency in Berlin, Mirror Nation is a sorrowful reflection on the ways in which a place can hold a “magnetic field of memory,” proving that history doesn’t merely repeat itself; history is ever present, chiming the hours in a chorus against empire.

  • Reviews:

    From Ethiopia to Israel, Nicaragua to Afghanistan, she ties headlines and fragments using the equal sign, which she refers to as “a syntax that enables multiple places and times to coexist simultaneously.” Choi skillfully illustrates the cyclical, endless nature of violence to more deeply understand her home, herself, and the world.
    Publishers Weekly

    Choi has demonstrated her dutiful attention to language in her previous work as a translator and poet, but what compels me in this collection is her sustained, universal critique of violence in and beyond national bounds.
    Anabelle Johnston, Los Angeles Review of Books

    The rewards across the three volumes in concert manifest not only through the cumulative effects of evidentiary fragmentation collaged in documents and reflections and photographs, but the collisions of tones, both typographical and textual.
    Rebecca Morgan Frank, Lit Hub

    Choi, at the end of Mirror Nation, understands that she, too, is a divided country, a political person and a family person, one person who is consumed with history and grief and another person who stops to marvel at sparrows and swans.
    Terry Pitts, Vertigo

  • Born in Seoul, South Korea, Don Mee Choi is the author of Mirror Nation (Wave Books, 2024) 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 month: April 2024

ISBN# 9781950268931 (6.75x9, 128pp, paperback)
ISBN# 9798891060005 (6.75x9, 128pp, limited edition hardcover)

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