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Notes from the Divided Country: Poems

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  153 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Notes from a Divided Country, Kim's first collection of poetry, confronts a number of difficult subjects - colonialism, the Korean War, emigration, racism, and love. She considers what a homeland would be for a divided nation and a divided self: what it means to enter language, the body, the family, the community; to be a daughter, sister, lover, citizen, or exile. In sett ...more
Paperback, 74 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Louisiana State University Press
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Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I would write about this excellent collection in my own words, but I'm not that eloquent, so instead I'm going to quote a bit that stood out to me from the poem "Montage with Neon, Bok Choi, Gasoline, Lovers & Strangers".

"the War Memorial in Itaewon counting
still missed by the living, still loved beyond reason,

monument to the fact
no one can hurt you, no one kill you
like your own people."

I highly recommend these poems.
Jan 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
While much of poetry in general falls on my deaf ears, Monologue for an Onion almost singlehandedly changed my world-view.
How morose, the futile slashing of the human, skin after skin into what? for what? what heart? what truth?

"Look at you, chopping and weeping. Idiot.
Is this the way you go through life, your mind
A stopless knife, driven by your fantasy of truth?"

"Ruin and tears your only signs of progress"

"You are the one in pieces"

"Poor fool, you are divided at teh heart,
Lost in its
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
These are gorgeous, brave poems that take the breath away. Weaving together experimental and traditional forms, Kim's words sing of her Korean inheritance: a legacy of occupation, civil war, and immigration. They tell of longing, of her search for a lost culture, of the awkward juxtaposition of life in America with her own rich heritage. The book is brimming with rich imagery, with tastes, sounds, and smells that leap from the page.
Edward Rathke
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A collection in four parts with each part being pretty different, both in tone and style, and ranging over a wide variety of voices and content.

Largely focusing on various forms of revolution or dissent. From the personal to the political to the cultural and even to the body itself.

There are sections I certainly found better than others [II was my favorite], but the whole thing is worth looking at.

It's intense and sometimes brutal.
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-university
The first collection of poems that I actually admired to be 'great writing'! Despite reading it under the pressure of an assignment, it was actually a great read. It connects past, present, spiritual and mythological - A refreshingly diverse take on Korean history. I wish to read it again more closely.
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This woman is a master. Kim's poems are brilliant in their eloquence. There is a contained rage here, a perpetual grief. Her language is so fresh. She addresses everything real in Korean history, from the Pinan to racism in America. Here is a poetess who will give you stories that burn and ultimately transform the soul.
Aug 09, 2007 rated it did not like it
I got a copy I'm dying to get rid of. Any takers? One thing I can't stand--self-exoticists. Give it up, SUSAN! You and Martin Yan really should meet up. I hear he manufactures his 'Chinee accent' just to keep his predominantly white audience watching, and his show on the air. Too much.
Feb 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I love this collection; definitely one of the best I've ever read. There is so much going on in these complex pieces (history, family, heritage, culture, war, oppression and identity are all eloquently debated in this text). I can't wait for this multi-talented poet to publish again.
Feb 06, 2008 rated it did not like it
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Digging holes and fucking cunts. Still meditating on this. Get off my lawn.
Mar 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
completely in love with this collection!
filled with moments of love and sadness at the core of each poem and so beautifully crafted.
The language was vivid and electric and left me wanting more.
Sep 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
The first poem alone in this book makes it worth owning and rereading.
Mar 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
wonderful chilces of words-perhaps to thick and dense for some of the poems-overuse of blood, bone etc-still very worth reading-some poems just marvelous
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