In August 2011, Korean poets Kim Ki Taek, Park Ra Youn, Hwang Tong-gyu and Park Hyung Jun landed in Australia for a ten day tour. They presented at the Melbourne Writers Festival and in Sydney at the Redroom Poetry Company. The tour was a reciprocal visit following the Cordite/Asialink tour of Korea in May.
Balloon’s earned his name. He’s a six-foot-two barrel of a man with a voice that booms. He’s a giant among Koreans. A gentle giant with a wide, open face. The day is hot. His brow drips when he gets excited. Bo Yeon brings him a tissue. Bo Yeon brings water and coffee. She brings a bandaid. She watches everything with a hopeful half-smile on her full moon-face. Hyung Seok sits between them. He has a long expressive face landscaped by a strata of old scars. His hands are delicate and when he talks his fingers make tiny sculptures in the air.
When I ate out with someone Japanese, in this case the poet and translator Keiji Minato, I asked them to translate the menu rather than the usual point-at-the-picture option. Rather than have them translate every dish I'd find out what categories there were first. 'fried things' was one.
Five weeks and I have still not visited Mao's statue, which stands at the heart of Chengdu's First Ring Road. On the map in one of the city's English language magazines his presence has been reduced to a vector-based outline, …