Yi Sang
Translated from the Korean by Michael Joseph Walsh & Jae Kim
it’s bad for the lungs to drink the black air. in the walls of the lungs sits soot. all night long my body aches. there’s so much of it, this night. i carry it out, i bring it in, and then i forget, and then it’s morning. even in the lungs the morning switches on. i look around (my habit is back) to see if anything’s gone missing in the night. nothing but a few pages torn out of an extravagant book. and intricately inscribed above the restless conclusion: the morning sun. as if that night without a nose will never come.

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Yi Sang (이상) (1910-1937) was one of the most important Korean avant-garde writers of the Japanese colonial era. Trained as an architect, he is known especially for his long poem “Crow’s Eye View” and his short story “The Wings.” The Yi Sang Literary Award, one of Korea’s most prestigious literary prizes, is named in his honor. He died in Tokyo from complications of tuberculosis following his arrest by Japanese authorities as an “unlawful Korean.”

Michael Joseph Walsh is a Korean American poet and translator. He is co-editor for APARTMENT Poetry, and his work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Brooklyn Rail, DIAGRAM, Guernica, FOLDER, Fence, Sink Review, jubilat, and elsewhere. He lives in Denver.

Jae Kim is a writer from South Korea and a translator of Korean and Japanese literature. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in NOON,  Conjunctions, Guernica, Poem-a-DayPoetry ReviewWords Without Borders, Lana TurnerThe Rupture, and other literary journals. He teaches creative writing at Washington University in St. Louis, where he is a member of the International Writers’ Program.

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