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Yi Sang: Selected Works

Kwajŏng: Celebrating the Process of Translating Korean Literature

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Courtesy of Wave Books

Join translators Jack Jung and Sawako Nakayasu in reading and discussing selected poems of Yi Sang!

Thursday, February 18, 2021
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM (Pacific Time)

Korean Literature is rapidly gaining a wider audience and acclaim through the effort and skill of translators. They are dedicated to bringing across venerated literary giants and exciting contemporary voices into the English-reading world. The beginning of this series exploring the invisible work of the translator starts with a conversation with two of the translators of Yi Sang: Selected Works (2019, Wave Books), Jack Jung and Sawako Nakayasu.

Yi Sang (1910-1937) was a painter, architect, poet and writer of 1930s Korea, when Korean peninsula was under Japanese colonial rule. Yi Sang wrote and published in both Korean and Japanese until his early death from tuberculosis at the age of 27, after imprisonment by Japanese police for thought crimes in Tokyo. His work shows innovative engagement with European modernism, especially that of Surrealism and Dada. He is considered one of the most experimental writers of Korean modernism.

Yi Sang: Selected Works is the first major collection of the electrifying, experimental writer whose short, yet exceptional, body of work has enthralled readers and scholars since the 1930s. This collection of Yi Sang’s poetry, essays, and stories was crafted in English by translators Jack Jung, Sawako Nakayasu, Joyelle McSweeney, and Don Mee Choi.

The event will be a bilingual reading and discussion of selected poems from the collection by translators Jack Jung, Sawako Nakayasu, and discussant Professor Christopher P. Hanscom, moderated by Professor Hyun Suk Park. The discussion will highlight the delicate and involved process of translation and literary creation that is required to bring works of Korean literature into English.

To attend the event, please register here.

Sawako Nakayasu is an artist working with language, performance, and translation—separately and in various combinations. Her books include Some Girls Walk Into The Country They Are From (Wave Books), Pink Waves (forthcoming, Omnidawn), The Ants (Les Figues Press), and the translation of The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa (Canarium Books), as well as Mouth: Eats Color—Sagawa Chika Translations, Anti-translations, & Originals (reprint forthcoming, Wave Books), a multilingual work of both original and translated poetry. She is co-editor, with Eric Selland, of an anthology of 20th Century Japanese Poetry (forthcoming, New Directions). She teaches at Brown University.

Jack Jung is a graduate of Iowa Writers’ Workshop where he was a Truman Capote Fellow. His translations of Korean poet Yi Sang's poetry and prose are published in Yi Sang: Selected Works by Wave Books. He is the American Literary Translation Association's 2021 Emerging Translator Mentorship Program Mentor for Korean poetry. He currently teaches Korean poetry translation at Literature Translation Institute of Korea.

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Duration: 01:27:43


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Sponsor(s): Center for Korean Studies

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