Winner of the 2002 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, selected by Yusef Komunyakaa. In her first collection, Suji Kwock Kim confronts some of the most difficult, most unanswerable questions --- colonialism, the Korean War, ...
ar, emigration, racism, love. She considers what a homeland would be, for a divided nation and divided self: what it means to enter language, the body, the family, the community; to be a daughter, sister, lover, citizen or exile.
In settings from New York to San Francisco, Scotland to Seoul, her poems question "what threads hold/our lives together" in cities and gardens, battlefields and small towns. Across the no-mans-land between every "you" and "I," her speakers encounter, quarrel with, or honor others, traveling between the living and the dead, between horror over the disastrous events of the past, and hope for the future.
With its wide range of voices, styles and perspectives, NOTES FROM THE DIVIDED COUNTRY bears witness to the vanishing world.
Whatever you meant to love, in meaning to You changed yourself: you are not who you are, Your soul cut moment to moment by a blade Of fresh desire, the ground sown with abandoned skins. And at your inmost circle, what? A core that is Not one. Poor fool, you are divided at the heart, Lost in its maze of chambers, blood, and love, A heart that will one day beat you to death. --- from "Monologue for an Onion"