60 article(s) translated from Korean

Wizard Bakery

The Devil’s Cinnamon Cookies. 2 per serving. 9000 won. Ingredients: flour, cinnamon, brown sugar, raisins, and a secret extract. The essence of the extract will not be revealed, as certain ingredients…...

A Poem I Didn’t Name

Now is a time of national mourning. Not for the death of a king we have never seen. Now is a time of national mourning during which we all should thrust our heads down  to the bottom of the sea where…...

Say Ah, Pelican

Boat People Yawn. Yawning always makes me sleepy. There are still two boats out on the water, but I lie down anyway. There’d be trouble if the boss saw me. It would be so great if the polar ice caps…...

from “I’ll Be Right There”

Dahn sent me the first letter a year after he joined the military and was selected for the special forces. It was more than five pages long. He didn’t mention anywhere in it that he was in a special…...

Injeolmi Rice Cakes

Once Maternal Grandmother set off, a basin of injeolmi rice-cakes on her head, to sell in this neighborhood and that, I would pull out scraps of glass, bottle tops, a broken pocketknife, medicine bottles,…...

The Vegetarian

Before my wife turned vegetarian, I’d always thought of her as completely unremarkable in every way. To be frank, the first time I met her I wasn’t even attracted to her. Middling height; bobbed…...

Lament

He was fifty-four years old with a sound mind and a body that was rotting away. He died. He wasn’t young enough to have required a specific cause of death, or young enough to cause great sadness.…...

The Suit

My friend F’s call came in the middle of December, when the snow would not stop coming down and Manhattan was all but paralyzed. He said he had to get to New York right away but couldn’t find…...

Ascending Scales

The first thing I learned in piano class was how to press Do. Since it’s the first note, you use your first finger. When I pressed the key, Do let out a weak doooooh. I pressed it again so I wouldn’t…...

Gamak Valley

During wartime the men die, the women survive. Cockerels have their necks twisted and die, hens sit on eggs. Gamak Valley in Yeonsan, north of Nonsan in South Chungcheong is where sharp hills approach…...

My Wife’s Magic

My wife is sad and seeing my sad wife, I too am sad, then as she answers her mother’s phone call, “Sure, we’re fine,” the wife inside my wife grows sadder still. I want to live…...

Winter That Year

I think the time has finally come when I can try to explain what happened that winter, all those years ago. I’m well past thirty now, and I’ve got a family I have to provide for; so every morning…...

Mud Flats

She lies there with her hugely pregnant body. At dawn a ship leaves, cutting through her stomach. As it emerges from her body, headed for the sea, trailing its umbilical cord, oh, from within her body…...

Earning My Keep

Mother, I think I'll go pay a visit to Hell. No matter how far away, I'll set off as if leaving for work in the morning then come back as if coming off work in the evening. Don't skip meals,…...

I Want to Call Her Mother Again

My mother’s last words to us as we stood in the middle of the empty potato field, her voice carrying above the razor-sharp wind that seemed to carve away at our flesh, still ring in my ears. “You’re…...

The Poet Who Asked for Forgiveness

At its essence, the purpose of North Korean literature is to praise the Korean Workers’ Party. While South Korean poetry deals with topics such as love or life, North Korean poetry refers only to…...

Pillow

Both the seller And the buyer Have nothing to offer but themselves In Pyongyang’s marketplace The filters of cigarette butts Provided cotton for this blanket on display “Face-wash for sale!”…...

The Arduous March

We stayed in the mountain village up until we left the North. Before that, when we had been living in the farming village, we couldn’t afford to visit our relatives in China. But after a few years…...

A Rice Story

1 As harvest season begins, the field slowly reveals its bare body. The thousand-year-old promise is that you reap what you sow. The land of promise stretches out behind the footprints of man. Winds blow.…...

A Blackened Land

So many miracles have happened to me in the last few months. I left behind my beloved homeland where I was born and raised and made my way through hell, just under the nose of the grim reaper. Today, I…...

After the Gunshot

Dark clouds were scattered low and despondent in the sky, loitering above the creeping flow of the river. As it always had, the Aprok River echoed through the deep ravine. The water was rising after a…...

The Chef’s Nail

If only she had not misread “The Chef's Mail” as “The Chef's Nail,” none of this ever would have happened. It all began a few months ago, at the moment Jung misread that…...

Beauty

I grew up in a harbor town by Korea’s east coast where the hill and sea meet. Back then, the town was colorless and empty of any striking buildings. Come winter, it made for a dreary sight, cloaked…...

Marilyn Monroe and Lady Gaga’s Korea, and Korean Literature

Marilyn Monroe came to South Korea in February of 1954. While honeymooning in Tokyo with Joe DiMaggio, she had boarded a military plane and was en route to Seoul even before the marriage was fully consummated.…...

Tree of Lips

“What’s wrong with this kid?” It wasn’t a real question. The teacher wasn’t expecting an answer, and even if she were, no one could have answered it. Ran raised her head,…...