Some Are Always Hungry

Jihyun Yun. Univ. of Nebraska, $17.95 trade paper (66p) ISBN 978-1-49622-218-3
In this excellent debut, Yun lingers over descriptions in precise and evocative language. In one poem, a kiss tastes like bellflowers; in another “your lip, a crushed berry,/ spills its wet cerise.” But rather than rest as ornamented observation, Yun’s language spins together themes of food, the legacy of Japan’s occupation of Korea, and the ubiquity of misogynistic violence. While the collection mostly consists of short lyrics, these are carefully sequenced to draw out complexities and juxtapositions, such as when a poem in which the speaker is naked with a lover is followed by a poem about a mother’s skin marked by illness. It’s in longer poems, such as one constructed from a recipe for dakdoritang, and “Leaving Season” (set on a beach, in shifting stanzas), where Yun demonstrates the true extent of her powers, building memorable worlds. When she writes, “the moon looks too whole. I want/ to pull it through a sieve,” readers are likely to believe that she could. This is a lush and moving collection. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 08/13/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Poetry
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