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You’re Small There and I’m Big Here So We’re SeparatingKim Min-jeong

『You’re Small There and I’m Big Here So We’re Separating』

Author : Kim Min-jeong
Publisher : Moonji
Publication date : December 10, 2019
Number of pages : 131
Format : 128x205mm
ISBN : 9788932035963

Kim Min-jeong

Kim Min-jeong was born in Incheon in 1976. She debuted in 1999 and received the Munye Joongang Literary Award for Best First Poem. Her poetry collections include For the First Time, She Felt It and Let It Be Beautiful and Useless. She has received the Park In-hwan Literary Award, Weolgan Contemporary Poetry Award and Lee Sang-hwa Poets Award.

We Leap


It is just like evening. It’s a metaphor for the boundaries of poetry drawn by poets. If evenings can be defined, these boundaries may be further explained through metaphor. Mentally, an evening begins at dusk with darkness falling and seems to end when it can no longer become darker. A thought that follows is that an evening begins with the worry over what to have for dinner and whom to eat it with, and ends around the time the dishes are cleaned and put away. No need to split hairs over the definition, but for fun, I looked up the word “evening” in the dictionary. “Evening: the period between sunset and nightfall.” I chuckled at this rather abstract dictionary definition. Even when I think about it now, an evening approaches with much hesitation and reluctance, but ultimately and most certainly it arrives, stays a little while, and soon departs. Of course, many things in life come and go in this way. Like the world that unfolds to a poet when reading a poem.

“But we must focus on the inner world of a woman who declares such cold statements about those people and herself” — Kim In-hwan, from his review of For the First Time, She Felt It.

If a poet’s coldness toward others and the world is revealed, it is something akin to a passive reaction. Poets mostly become cold when asked why they’re sick or why they’re sad for so long. That’s when they ask back coldly why you’re not sick yourself or why you demand an end to sadness. Or they’ll endure the question and bury it in their heart.

In contrast, poets become cold to themselves in moments that are simple and proactive. That is, death. Wanting to live a good life has long since been abandoned by the poets. They simply want to die well. They have that desire but have the suspicion that they will not, so they become cold.

Then how can dying well be explained? How is it possible that the adverb “well” combines with the verb “die”? I’m not sure. It’s all very difficult. If it is possible, only those facing death can bridge the two words together. This is in the same way that of all the people in the world, the only person who can answer the question “why live?” is myself. But since we’re not at death’s door, we cannot put together the words “die” and “well.” In this way, all deaths become lamentations of histories, and all lives become lamentations of thoughts. It’s natural that those who always ponder, connect and write about these two extremes pen poems rife with lamentations of death.

“And even while I write this, I don’t know. I don’t know who Kim Min-jeong is. But one thing I do know is that she is a poet who wanted to write in a way that is nonexistent in the world. Someone who wanted to create the kind of love that is nonexistent in the world. And because of this, a poet-human who often becomes trapped in aloneness.” — By Yi Won, from his review of Let It Be Beautiful and Useless

A poet’s love can be revealed by naming, how they are created and mentioned. This poetry collection consists of numerous names: Marguerite Duras, Gi-seung, Hwang Hieon-san, The Little Angels Children’s Folk Ballet, Fevers, Mugu, Mua, Hye Eun-yee, Kele Og-yun, Park Chan-il, Choi Jeong-jin, Lee Je-ni, Eom Yong-su, Kim Hyeong-gon, Kim Tae-hyeong, Piketty, Kang Tae-hyeong, Kim Tae-hyeong, Kim Tae-hyeong, Kim So-jin, Ham Jeung-im, Kim Tae-hyeong, Kim Tae-hyeong, Lee Jung-seop, Kim Jung-eop, No Hee-kyung, Kim Yeong-ok, Kim Su-hyeon, Lee Sun-ja, Kang Bu-ja, Chun Woo-hee, Kim Gu-ra, Su-kyung, Bei Dao, Kim Yong-taik, Cheol-gyu, Jake, Jun, Yeon-jun, Kim Sang-hyeok, Lee Seul-a, Svetlana Boginskaya, Min-seok, Barbie, Mimi, Son Jeong-su, Song Bang-ung, Lee Cheon-hui, Lee Ae-ran Heo Young-ran and Hur Young-ran. A name, which is both physical and metaphysical at the same time in terms of relationships; which harbors human emotion the longest, be it love, yearning, hatred or resentment; and one of a kind in the world even if it’s the same name.

This would be a good time for me to return exactly what I’d heard from Kim Min-jeong a long time ago. I’ll even borrow her style of word play.

What appears as my “indebtedness” is “light,” and “reprisal” is “payback.”

“Living as a poet and writing poems has made me take a quite objective approach to poetry. In that respect, there’s only one thing I believe. That is, time, and the poetry that is me. We will be forgotten. We will be remembered only as us.” — From an email received from Kim Min-jeong on December 7, 2011.

Whether it’s someone like me with the name “Jun” or others with names ending in the characters “Jeong,” “Rim,” “San,” “Chan” or “Gyeong,” I think everyone should be happy about the publication of You’re Small There and I’m Big Here So We’re Separating. Anyone can join us in our happy celebration of this event, as “that part” of us — be it literature, life or death grows — just a bit wider and bigger, as poets’ boundaries have broadened this beautifully.

If there, we leap.


By Park Joon

Translated by