A Series of Fives: Notes from Seoul

This is a country of ghosts and robots. A country of seven thousand living poets – none of them talking to one another. The once-hermit kingdom, where all but gentry were garbed in white, now spills the neon of frantic …

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Cordite 35: Oz-Ko is now complete!

If you’d told me in April this year that we’d still be posting content from our Oz-Ko issue in November, I would have called you barking mad. But that’s exactly what’s happened: what started out in 2009 as an idea for a straightforward issue devoted to new poetry from Australia and the Republic of Korea has now spawned three separate issues including one hundred and fifteen poems (of which over ninety are translations), almost two dozen features (including essays, articles, interviews and photo galleries) and two separate tours, to Korea and Australia, by a total of eight poets from both countries.

Excuse me while I take a moment to reflect on that.

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Highlights from the Korean Poets’ Tour of Australia!

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.

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What the Job Is: Notes on Racism and the Cultural Divide

My plan to start teaching phonetics in my Korean English class actually germinated in Nepal. I began to notice signs similar to ones I had seen in Korea, toting the English language as a kind of educational panacea. I found myself wondering if the modern world was engaged in a cultural war, an effort to arm itself with my mother tongue. A policy of Mutually Assured Comprehension.

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The Bastards Learned How to Swim

My drinking has always had a very narrow purpose, one that I’ve repeatedly given up without issue or pain; it is a bonus to rather than a facet of my days. But when I moved to Seoul I was confronted with a type of drinking attitude that insisted my commitment to alcohol be put to the test. For the first time I was taking part in a night life that had no half measures, no flip side to the coin: it’s go for a drink or go to bed. And if you choose bed, you better take a drink along.

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Jeju-do with Family: A Korean Photo Essay

“It was before the Christmas of 2008 when my brother and his girlfriend came to visit my dad and I in Seoul. That’s over two years ago now and I didn’t keep a diary at the time. I have some memories, and I have some photos, and I have some memories from some photos. And I have some emails.”

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Joel Scott Reviews Kim Hyesoon and Don Mee Choi

It is refreshing to be introduced to a literature through its contemporary women poets. For that reason, I was extremely happy to receive these two titles, both published by Action Books (a small U.S. publisher doing great things). Neither book, though, is entirely Korean.

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Host (호스트)

Host I am in love with you Han River great grey green yellow wide Han River curling round the bridge pillars’ concrete dreaming hero-maker, forced by sulphuric acid lonely mother stealing children slips from the sewer drip-drop echoing den coral …

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