FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information contact:
Jake Friedman, Executive Director
Four Chambers Press
Internationally Acclaimed South Korean Poet Kim Kyung Ju Comes to Phoenix Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016
Phoenix, AZ (January 11th, 2016) . . . In his first ever US tour, internationally acclaimed South Korean poet Kim Kyung Ju will be celebrating the English-language version release of his best-selling collection, I am A Season that Does Not Exist in the World (Black Ocean Press, 2016) with a reading at Valley Bar (130 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004) on Tuesday, February 2nd at 6:30 pm. Reading with Kim is his translator, Jake Levine. The event is 21+. Admission is free. The reading is presented by Four Chambers Press.
With an increasing interest in international literature and translation from the academic world and the resurgence of Korean literature more generally speaking, Kim’s English language debut is poised to become a contemporary classic. “Both a blessing and a curse to Korean literature,” Kim is already considered one of the strongest voices of his generation, and I Am a Season that Does Not Exist in the World is his capstone work.
While Phoenix has an active literary scene, very rarely does it have the opportunity to host touring authors of such renowned status, especially those who are just making their way into the English-speaking world.
“Over the past year, the University of Arizona Poetry Center held a number of similar readings at the Phoenix Art Museum—Fady Joudah, francine j. harris, Tarfia Faizullah, Mark Doty—with really great turnout and response,” explains Four Chambers Press Executive Director Jake Friedman, who is organizing the Phoenix stop of Kim’s tour. “Hosting authors from all over the world not only enriches our city with a high level of cultural programming, it shows the world that Phoenix is a cultural city. We’re ridiculously excited to hear Kim’s work.”
Originally released in 2006, I Am a Season that Does Not Exist in the World has sold over fifteen thousand copies and is already in its 30th edition. English-language versions of Kim’s work have appeared in Guernica, Gulf Coast, Boston Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Asymptote, and Drunken Boat. Kim has also written over ten books of poetry, essays and plays (several of which are in various stages of being produced off Broadway and abroad). His work is widely anthologized throughout Korea, and has received numerous accolades and awards, most notably the Writer’s Pick for best poem of the year (2008) and Today’s Young Artist Prize by the Korean Government (2009).
In haunting, anti-lyrical verse, I am A Season that Does Not Exist attempts to set the loneliness and anomie of modern society within a broader ecological context. While modern life is saturated with the longing of technological connection, the desire of advertising, and the isolation and minutia of home and work, all the yearning and boredom belies the deeper sadness of being a species whose biological drive is ultimately futile in the face of having caused it’s own mass extinction. At the same time, I am a Season that Does Not Exist is able to celebrate the banal, absurd, quasi-messianic interruptions of simply being alive. And in acknowledging the failed futures of the past—as the wanderer, the post-apocalypse, the fossil, the ghost—Kim is able to apologize for the failures of civilization and provide the reader with some sort of redemption or hope.
Reading with Kim is Jake Levine, whose translation and original work have appeared in The New York Times, The Literary Review, The Asian Literary Review, Paper Darts, Circumference, and others. Levine has been the recipient of a Fulbright fellowship, a Korean Government Scholarship, and has authored two poetry chapbooks—The Threshold of Erasure (Spork, 2010) and Villna Dybbuk (Country Music). A Tuscon native, Levine has served as the Editor in Chief of Sonora Review and received his MFA from the University of Arizona in 2010. He currently edits poetry for Spork Press with Richard Siken and is completing his PhD in Comparative Literature at Seoul National University.
I Am a Season that Does Not Exist in the World will be available at the event in a general edition from Black Ocean Press and a special handbound edition from Spork Press. Sample work can be found online atGuernica (https://www.guernicamag.com/poetry/the-nail-at-night-gradually-deepens/) or The Boston Review (http://www.bostonreview.net/poetry/npm14-kim-kyung-ju-three-poems). For more information please visit http://fourchamberspress.com/kkj