Phoneme Media has done it again. Oh Saw-Young’s Night-Sky Checkerboard looks simple enough – an elegant slim volume of bilingual poetry from a language not many people would be able to read otherwise; Korean. The powerful juxtapositions of natural imagery reminded me of Regentonnenvariationen.
With a monk – Brother Anthony of Taizé translating, it’s not surprising God gets a look in:
But this isn’t superficial piety – it punches you in the gut:
The harshness that comes to the surface is no surprise when you think about the context that shaped these poems:
The punctuation was all I could compare to the original. This ends in a comma in English, but by oversight or intention, it fits the endless rhythm of the poem:
As Oh Sae-Young reminds us, writing is a powerful act:
You can find more of Brother Anthony’s translations of him and other Korean poets here.