Night-Sky Checkerboard

wavecornwall1608kswPhoneme 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:

ohsaeyoungthecloud

But this isn’t superficial piety – it punches you in the gut:

ohsaeyoungwristwatch

The harshness that comes to the surface is no surprise when you think about the context that shaped these poems:

ohsaeyoungpower

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:

ohsaeyoungwaves

As Oh Sae-Young reminds us, writing is a powerful act:

ohsaeyoungsittingstraight

You can find more of Brother Anthony’s translations of him and other Korean poets here.

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Posted in books, poetry, translation

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