The Cheapest France in Town (Paperback)

The Cheapest France in Town By Seo Jung Hak, Megan Sungyoon (Translator) Cover Image

The Cheapest France in Town (Paperback)

By Seo Jung Hak, Megan Sungyoon (Translator)


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The elusive, distant, almost disembodied voice of Korean poet Seo Jung Hak's English-language debut examines interiorities that seem familiar, yet whose ordinariness rises to the level of the uncanny.

Inspired by the commodification of arts, emotions, and ideologies, these poems--written over a span of 18 years from 1999 to 2017--parody the very act of writing amid worn-out rhetorical tropes, in a tone that is at times sinisterly witty and at others ominously blithe.

"Seo Jung Hak's poetry feigns to visualize the present through an extremely low pulse rate. Then the farthermost outside intervenes--the illustrated world becomes distorted; the multiplicity of poetic composition intervenes. That's when the pulse of his poetry explodes. The gravity shatters. For what? For hot love and infinite freedom. Thus his poetry deviates from the gravity at every moment to remain a documentation of one who has left."--Kim Hyesoon

"The prose poems of Seo Jung Hak, remade by Megan Sungyoon, depict the every-day existential absurdity of mid-level managerial work under South Korea's globalized capitalism. Every consumption, task, plan falls flat as a 'paper box.' (Seo's 'paper box' is not unlike Kim Hyesoon's 'pinkbox'--they both suffer from predetermined disposability.) The poems can be read as flat fables about the fate of production, growth, freedom, desire, and language. Seo's mocking tone is irresistible."--Don Mee Choi

"In the absurdist, 'instant' fables of THE CHEAPEST FRANCE IN TOWN, Seo Jung Hak takes on a world of disposability, documenting the dizzying experience of having a body amidst all these textures, surfaces and ingredients. Megan Sungyoon's remarkable translation brings into English the strange, nuanced intersection of numbness, repulsion, confusion, and even joy."--Johannes G ransson

"Ever surprising and engrossing, Hak's writing transports."--Publishers Weekly

Poetry. Hybrid. Asian & Asian American Studies.

A native of Seoul, poet Seo Jung Hak (서정학) made his debut with four poems in the Winter 1995 issue of Literature and Society. His first poetry collection, The King of Adventure and Aristocrats of Coconut was published in 1998 by Moonji Publishing, one of the most important literary publishers in South Korea. The Cheapest France in Town is his second book of poetry, also published by Moonji in 2017.Megan Sungyoon translates between languages and across genres. Sungyoon's work has appeared in World Poetry Review, Copper Nickel, Asymptote, Columbia Journal, SAND Journal, and The Margins, among others. Currently based in Seoul and New York, Sungyoon holds a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in Poetry and Literary Translation from Columbia University.
Product Details ISBN: 9781954218147
ISBN-10: 1954218141
Publisher: World Poetry Books
Publication Date: October 26th, 2023
Pages: 120
Language: English