Sunwoo Kim

According to the poet Na Hui-deok, the poetry of Sunwoo Kim (김선우) is filled with  “bashful yet intense sensuality reminiscent of moist flower petals,” and “her femininity emanates… abundance as that of embryonic fluid.” The women in her poetry are “embryos, mothers and midwives all at once.” The image of women as bountiful, life-giving and life-embracing entities dominates her first volume of poetry If My Tongue Refuses to Remain in My Mouth. The poet’s celebration of the female body is often accompanied by her revulsion of male oppression. In the title poem, the poet visualizes the feminine desire for freedom from male oppression in a series of unsettling imageries such as “a skull of a baby hanging from its mother’s neck,” and “a gush of beheaded camellias.” The protagonist is forced to sew strips of new skin onto a monster that grows bigger and  bigger. Her attempt to kill him ultimately fails because her “good tongue is obsequiously locked up in his mouth.” Her second volume of poetry Sleeping under the Peach Blossoms reveals the force of nature in its primeval state through the physicality of women’s body and uniquely feminine functions of reproduction. In A Bald Mountain it is women’s sexuality and sexual desires that find their expression  in nature: “cloud children” pucker their lips toward the “bright nipples  of flowers,” and “the tongue of the wind” passes over the waist of the mountain and lifts up the eulalia seeds while “licking the deep valley.” The winter grass bends down to have sex in various positions and the  mountain itself is “lying with its legs open towards the shadow.”