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Stephen Hong Sohn
Regents of the University of California, Riverside (Riverside, CA 92521-0001)
The Korean War (1950–53) in Poetry by Korean Americans

Research leading to an article and book on the impact of the Korean War on the literature of Korean-American poets such as Myung Mi Kim, Don Mee Choi, and Sun Young Shin.

Though publications by American writers of Korean descent now number easily in the hundreds, no monograph exists that considers this extensive and critical body of work. My aim is to address this oversight at least in part by engaging in the production of a chapter length work over the NEH Summer Stipend period. The chapter will explore discourses of technology and militarism, as they arise in Korean American war poetry, especially focusing on the work of Myung Mi Kim and how her collections—including Under Flag, The Bounty, Dura, and Commons—can be placed in comparison to others such as Don Mee Choi’s Hardly War and Sun Yung Shin’s Rough, and Savage. Juxtaposing these poetry collections reveals an intriguing connection between the Korean civilian and American serviceman in the terrain of war: the desire to find legibility and recognition beyond the weapons, bombs, and gunfire that mark their lives as expendable.

Project fields:
American Literature; Military History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2018 – 8/31/2018