Connecting worlds through translating words
Don Mee Choi is helping bridge the worlds of American feminists and Korean feminists by translating the works of contemporary female poets. Don Mee has taught Asian & Pacific Islander American History at Seattle Central Community College and works with an international women’s network that focuses on issues related to militarism.
She read from her latest book ”Mommy Must be a Fountain of Feathers: Selected Poems of Kim Hyesoon” (Action Books, January 2008) as well as her other book ”Anxiety of Words: Poems by Contemporary Korean Women Poets Ch’oe Sŭng-ja, Kim Hyesoon, and Yi Yŏn-ju” (Zephyr Press, 2006). The poetry is image heavy, often dark and macabre and covering issues about Korean gender dynamics, home life, the effects of the US military bases, poverty, and the shifting of governments in Korea- from military dictatorship to capitalist democracy.
Each of the poets have distinct voices, points of view and styles which Don Mee meticulously took into account while translating. While it is accepted that translation often loses some intricacies of the original, Don Mee instead focuses on what is gained by having a wider audience read the works.
”Mommy Must be a Fountain of Feathers: Selected Poems of Kim Hyesoon” (Action Books, January 2008) is another recent translation of Don Mee Choi.