35.2: OZKO (한국-호주 | HANGUK-HOJU) cover image by Ivy Alvarez

Cordite 35.2: Oz-ko (Hanguk-Hoju)

The thirty-fifth issue of Cordite features new poetry from Australia and Korea. Timed to coincide with the Australia-Korea Year of Friendship, which celebrates fifty years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Cordite 35: OZ-KO aimed to stimulate creative collaborations between Australian and Korean poets and readers, and features one hundred new poetic works, plus a variety of features and other articles.


KO Un, KIM Kyung Ju, KIM Ki-Taek, KIM Myung-in, KIM Sa-in, KIM Sun-Woo, KIM So Youn, KIM Un, KIM Hyesoon, RA Hee-duk, PARK Ra Youn, PARK Hyung Jun, SONG Kyung Dong, SIN Yongmok, SHIN Hae Wook, SHIM Bo Sun, LEE Seong-bok, LEE Si-young, JIN Eun-young and HWANG Tong gyu.

Continue reading →

참새 다방 [Sparrow dabang]

간밤에 나는 노래방에서 노래하는 이상을 보았다
     마치 작은 참새 한마리가 노래하듯
탕 탕 탁타 탁타 특 특 특 특 탕 그건
     그 참새가 노래했던 아주 슬픈 소곡 
그 말고는 누구도 그 노랫말을 이해할 수 없는 그런 노래
     하지만 그렇다고 그가 노래를 멈출거라고 생각하지는 않는다-절대!
한옥의 지붕위에서, 아직도 이상의 노랫소리가 들린다
     이렇게 탕 탕 탁타 탁타 특 특 특 특 탕
     하루 온종일, 죽음같은 침묵속에서, 한마리 참새처럼.

그리고 나서 나는 피씨방에서 스타크래프트를 하는 이상을 보았다
     완전히 깨지고서, 스크린을 향해 고함을 지른다, 피씨방은
십대들의 담배연기로 묵직하고 키보드에는 
     포도주스가 끈적끈적하게 묻어있다(이런다고 이상을 멈출 수 
있을 거라고 생각하는가? 절대!  병력도 에너지도  너무 빨리 
     소모되어 버려서 상대편을  도저히 이길 수 없다
탕 탕 탁타 탁타 특 특 특 특 탕
     밤새도록 지친  키보드 위에서,

     네트워크로 연결된 침묵속에서, 한 무리의 참새떼처럼.

그리고 나서(당신이 이걸 믿을 수 있다면) 나는 이상이
     찜질방에서 땀을 쫘악 빼는 것을 보았다, 머리카락은
참새 대가리의 깃털 같았는데, 젖은 머리가 
     쭈뼛 솟아있는 것이, 꼭 당신이 상상할 수 있는 제일 작은 웅덩이에서
물을 마시는 한마리 참새같았다. 젖은 깃털이 마치 
     그를  붙잡아 둘 수 있을 것처럼.  믿지 마시길! 이상은, 흠뻑 젖은채
찜질방의 욕탕에 몇 시간이고 계속 앉아 있는데,
     그의 작은 심장은 마치 하늘을 날아 다니는 것처럼 달린다 
     탕 탕 탁타 탁타 특 특 특 특 탕.

오늘밤 나는 어느 다방의 한 구석에 조용히 앉아
     이상과 그리고 그가 이 새로운 멀티방에 대한 열광을
어떻게 생각할지를 생각한다. 아마도 그는 마음에 들어 했을 것이다,
     찾아보면 아마도 작은 참새 한마리를 위한 곳이
돈 내는만큼 사용할 수 있는 멀티방 안에 있을지도 모른다, 작은 공간
     탕 탕 탁타 탁타 특 특 특 특 탕
원한다면 하루 종일 이라도, 만약 그게 당신이 원하는 것이라면
     만약 그게 당신을 행복하게 해 준다면 말이다.  정말 그건 

     괜찮은 생각이지 않은가? 이상을 다시 상상해보는 멋진 방법이지 않은가?

그리고 내일이면 나는 어느 디비디방에 들어 앉아 있을 것이다, 
     이상의 일대기를 그린 영화를 보면서. 나는 참새를 단 한마리도 
 보지 않을 것이다, 나는 어둠속 나무 위에서 지저귀는 
     단 한마리 참새의 소리도 듣지 않을 것이다. 그걸 모르겠는가? 
어둠속에서 재잘대는 참새의 소리를 믿지 않는가? 
     신경쓰지 마시길! 내가 당신에게 상기시켜 줄 수 있으니까,
그 소리는 꼭 탕 탕 탁타 탁타 특 특 특 특 탕,
     밤새도록, 참새다방의 한쪽 구석에서 들려오는,

     그리고 그건 세상에서 가장 아름다우면서 외로운 소리이다.


i'm sitting here writing a poem
(or at least pretending to) while
a photographer shoots me with 
a wide-angle lens. of course it's
fake - this isn't even my office,
rather the media lab at yeonhui 
in north-west seoul, a thousand
miles from home(s), months
ago, a million species of weird-
ness, like a bastardised poet-model
(po-mo) whoring myself out 
for that fabled publicity shot. 
the camera flashes, blips, whirrs,
a semblance of a shutter, a studied 
pose, the stack of books as props,
the obligatory globe. looking 
at the camera now, as i write, 
is harder than it looks. somehow
it still feels fake ... especially
in close-up. can the viewer see
what i'm writing here and does 
anybody really care? these are 
the 'travails' of the modern writer
distilled into one single stream
of consciousness, etched in pencil. 
the shoot is done, it's time to go
but fuck it - they'll just have to
wait until my final line is written:


Cordite 35.1: OZ-KO (HOJU-HANGUK) cover image by Ivy Alvarez

Cordite 35.1: Oz-Ko (Hoju-Hanguk)


David Prater, Sebastian Gurciullo, Barry Hill, Ivy Alvarez, Terry Jaensch, Jane Gibian, Fiona Wright, Jill Jones, Pascalle Burton, Daniel O’Callaghan, Luke Beesley, Michelle Cahill, Corey Wakeling, Liam Ferney, David Stavanger, James Stuart, Stuart Cooke, Ouyang Yu, Christine Armstrong, Michael Farrell and Ali Alizadeh.

It’s kind of hard to believe, and in fact I’ve been feeling slightly delirious for the last few days, but I’ve finally managed to put together the second part of Cordite’s Oz-Ko issue devoted to all things Australian and Korean. While the first part of the issue, released in April, was a teaser or Envoy in the form of twenty poems in English, Oz-Ko (Hoju-Hanguk) is a full-blown bi-lingual exercise featuring forty new poems in English, and Hangul translations by 김재현 (Kim Gaihyun) and 김성현 (Kim Sunghyun).

Poets featured in this stage of the issue include our three touring Hojunauts (Ivy Alvarez, Barry Hill and Terry Jaensch) as well as a motley crew of contemporary Australian poets including Fiona Wright, Jane Gibian, Jill Jones, Pascalle Burton, Liam Ferney, Michael Farrell, Luke Beesley, David Stavanger, James Stuart and heaps more. In addition, we’ve been assembling a series of features on Australian and Korean poetry and culture, which you can now read at your leisure.

While I’m proud of each of the thirty-odd issues of Cordite that I’ve produced in my time as editor of the magazine, there will always be a special place reserved in my heart for Oz-Ko, no doubt partly because so much of my life has been invested in Korea. Having undertaken Asialink residencies in Seoul in 2005 and 2009, this third visit is really a culmination of all I once hoped to achieve in Korea, and perhaps that’s why I’m now feeling delirious. In any case, it’s a real thrill to see some Hangul finally make its way onto the Cordite site, and I really hope that some Korean readers get to experience contemporary Australian poetry in all its ragged glory.

Speaking of which, I’ve written two editorials for this issue. Well, three actually, if you include the Introduction to Oz-Ko (Envoy). Compared to that, the introduction to Oz-Ko (Hoju-Hangul) is a lot shorter, possibly due to fatigue. But the piece I’m actually really proud of is the Oz-Ko meta-poem I wrote and which features hyperlinks to each of the sixty poems already published in the issue (you can also view the Hangul version here, complete with URLs – don’t get me started on how long it took to format those!). Of course, for some readers I’m sure it will be a case of TL;DR but who cares what they think.

Here’s what I think: that the process of producing this truly bi-lingual issue has been just as important as the contents of the issue itself; that translation in this sense includes not just translation between languages but between electronic formats and systems; that Hangul script looks way cool; that Cordite 35: Oz-Ko is perhaps just the first step of a much larger and longer journey; and that after all this coding, formatting, stressing and navel-gazing, it’s time for a well-deserved soju or two.

David ‘Bek-Ho’ Prater, signing off for now.

Cordite 35.0: OZ-KO (ENVOY) cover image by Ivy Alvarez

Cordite 35.0: Oz-Ko (Envoy)

My one sharp-eyed reader will recognise the image to the left as being based on Paju Book City, a photo that featured on this blog last month. I’m not sure why I bothered mentioning that but the fact remains that if you click on that image, you’ll be transported instantly to Cordite 35: Oz-Ko, a special issue devoted to new poetry from Australia and the Republic of Korea.

I’m really excited about this issue, not least because I’m one of the editors but also because in a Cordite first, we’ll be publishing it in stages. Yes, Oz-Ko’s so big that we’ve had to split it up. The first stage includes twenty new poems (an ‘Envoy’ of sorts – read my editorial for a slightly less vague explanation) plus a rolling series of features, beginning with Dan Disney’s passionate article about Ko Un’s Maninbo. Subsequent stages will feature more poems in English and Hangul and much more!

In the meantime, wrap your laughing gear around new poetry by the likes of Adam Ford, Jen Jewel Brown, Anne Elvey, Joe Dolce, Fleur Beaupert, Mark Young, David Howard, Patrick Jones, Tim Wright, Zenobia Frost and, ummmm, ten others! Oh and check back to the site over the coming weeks to check out features by Jackson Eaton, Daniel East, Lara Williams and mooooooooooore!

Ahem. I’ll get me coat.