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Articles tagged "North Korean Literature"

I Want to Call Her Mother Again

My mother’s last words to us as we stood in the middle of the empty potato field, her voice carrying above the razor-sharp wind that seemed to carve away at our flesh, still ring in my ears. “You’re on your own now. I don’t have the strength to go any farther with you two.” Despite the howling wind that ripped and tore at my body, I felt no pain. Even when my frostbitten toes began to rot and ooze with pus, it did not hurt. Nothing could have hurt more than...

The Arduous March

We stayed in the mountain village up until we left the North. Before that, when we had been living in the farming village, we couldn’t afford to visit our relatives in China. But after a few years in our new location, we started applying for temporary passports so we could travel back and forth across the border. With both my father and mother making trips to China, our family seemed to be among the better off in the village. My father, who traveled frequently to procure materials...

A Rice Story

1 As harvest season begins, the field slowly reveals its bare body. The thousand-year-old promise is that you reap what you sow. The land of promise stretches out behind the footprints of man. Winds blow. Snow falls. Holding the aching cold of ice in its breast, it passes the long tunnel of summer, spewing pain and nourishment. Then, in silence, it offers up teardrops of rice.  2 Here in Seoul, there are people who make a fuss about saving rice from death. I don’t...

A Blackened Land

So many miracles have happened to me in the last few months. I left behind my beloved homeland where I was born and raised and made my way through hell, just under the nose of the grim reaper. Today, I enter through the gates of heaven. The Republic of Korea! This is heaven. When the gates of this paradise open wide—a heaven once glimpsed only in fairy tales—that beautiful world I so ardently longed for will spread out before me. I will no longer be forced to struggle against...

After the Gunshot

Dark clouds were scattered low and despondent in the sky, loitering above the creeping flow of the river. As it always had, the Aprok River echoed through the deep ravine. The water was rising after a sudden, unseasonable squall, and seemed massive under the gleaming moon. A loud gunshot sounded not far away. At the noise, a night bird dozing in the leaves of a willow tree fluttered its wings and shot, startled, into the sky. At the same time, a young man dressed in black...

On North Korea: Leaders Great and Dear, and Literature

The opacity that his obituaries attribute to Kim Jong-il extends to North Korean literary culture. WWB has published a fair amount of writing from the country, starting with our second issue in September 2003, Writing from North Korea, and continuing with our anthology Literature from the "Axis of Evil": Writing from Iran, Iraq, North Korea, and other "Enemy Nations" and the more recent comics translated and contextualized by Heinz Insu Fenkl. Given our mission of promoting global...

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