For Whom the Bell Tolls (Translation)

I gather my hands in the evening.

One day my hands feel hot.

They seem to shake as if they hold a gun. 

Once the illusion of a gun vanishes

only the hands remain 

like a black bird that got shot.

For no reason

the toy roly-poly holds its hands close to its chest

at night.

Isn’t this a children’s toy?

We’ve been children since forever.


About the author:

Kim Haengsook is one of the best-known Korean contemporary poets. Her books include Adolescence (2003), The Goodbye Ability (2007), and What Errands Are You Running? (2020), which won the prestigious Daesan Literary Award. An English translation of a selected collection of her poems Human Time is forthcoming at Black Ocean. She is a professor at Kangnam University.

About the translators:

Jake Levine is a poet, translator, and scholar. He has authored, translated, or co-translated over a dozen books, including his co-translation of Kim Yideum’s Hysteria (Action Books 2019), which received the National Translation Award and Lucien Stryk Prize. He edits the Korean poetry series Moon Country at Black Ocean.

Susan K studied English Literature and Linguistics at the University of Toronto. After spending some years teaching English and managing people who teach English, she decided to walk the cold and lonely path of a freelance translator. She completed the Literature Translation fellowship program and the Media Translation fellowship program at the Literature Translation Institute of Korea and currently works as a full-time translator of poetry, web comics, movies, and pretty much anything that interests her. She has also received a grant from the LTI to translate Park Soran’s poetry collection, One Person’s Closed Door. She loves all animals, but especially dogs; she loves all books, but especially mystery thrillers.

Léo-Thomas Brylowski graduated with a BA from the University of British Columbia and went on to complete the two-year LTI Korea Translation Academy fellowship program in Seoul. He was the Grand Prize recipient of the Korea Times Modern Korean Literature Translation Award in 2019 for his translation of Lee Kiho’s short story “Choe Mijin, Where Have You Gone?” and has also received a grant from LTI Korea in 2020 for the translation of a novel by author Park Young (currently in progress; title is yet to be decided upon). He is based in Seoul and works full-time as a webtoon (online comics) translator. 

Hannah Quinn Hertzog graduated from the University of Washington with degrees in Korean, Asian Languages and Literature, and Computer Science, then went on to complete both the two-year fellowship program and the summer-long Media Translation fellowship program at the Literature Translation Institute of Korea. In 2020, she received the Grand Prize at the 51st Korea Times Modern Korean Literature Translation Awards for her translation of Kim Un-su’s short story “Jab,” as well as the LTI Korea Translation Award for Aspiring Translators for her translation of Hwang Jung-eun’s short story “Gravedig.” She currently works full-time as a software engineer in Seoul.

Joanne Park studied history at Yonsei University and finished the regular course program at LTI Korea. She lives with her cat in Seoul.

Soohyun Yang is a freelance translator and interpreter. Her translations have appeared in Modern Poetry in Translation (2016), Korean Literature Now (Winter 2019) and The Poems of Hwang Yuwon, Ha Jaeyoun, and Seo Daekyung (Vagabond Press, 2020), Seoul Wowbook Festival (2017), and Gothenburg Book Fair (2019).