‘Someday I’ll Be Sitting In a Dingy Bar’

Last month I wrote about the tragic and unexpected passing of my former professor and kindred spirit, Scott Swaner. His sister came across the post, and has dropped me a couple notes since.

Most recently she let me know that a book of Korean poetry that Prof. Swaner had been working on before his death was published; the work is titled Someday I’ll be Sitting in A Dingy Bar, written by Hwang Jiwoo. Here’s an excerpt from the publisher’s website:

from “Please Take Off Your Shoes Before You Enter”:

A spinster jumped from her 15th floor apartment;
if you go take a look on the balcony, sure enough,
her shoes will be neatly placed there.
I hear people who jump into the Han River do the same thing.
Why would a person first neatly arrange the shoes
they’ve been wearing before they jump,
whether it’s onto the pavement or into pitch-dark waters?

It’s exciting to see more contemporary stuff translated and put out there for the masses, making Korean literature more accessible to those who might only have vague ideas about the nation and its culture.

Prof. Swaner was serious and passionate about his work, and was a dedicated scholar – I expect this to be a really great read. If you’re into Korean culture, poetry, or just have a good sense of curiosity, I would encourage you to pick this up.

The poetry collection can be purchased from Tin Fish Press.

(Edited July 19, 2007)

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