Heo Nanseolhean (1563-1589)* by Tanya Ko Hong


If women have han in their hearts—

To be born a woman
To be born in the Chosǒn Period
To be the wife of a husband

— frost will come in May.

Father let me study poetry with my brothers
until I married Kim Song Lip and I put it aside.
Waiting for my faithless husband, father said

Write a poem

ask yourself,

Who am I?



Tanya (Hyonhye) Ko Hong, poet, translator and cultural curator, has been published in Rattle, Beloit Poetry Journal, Entropy, Cultural Weekly, Korea Times, Korea Central Daily News, and elsewhere. She has an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently, Mother to Myself, A collection of poems in Korean (Prunsasang Press, 2015). Her poem, Comfort Woman, got honorable mention in the 2015 Women’s National Book Association. Tanya is an ongoing advocate of bilingual poetry, promoting the work of immigrant poets. She lives Palos Verdes, CA. http://www.tanyakohong.com


*Heo Nanseolhean (1563-1589), born Heo Chohui, was a prominent Korean Female poet of the mid Chosǒn dynasty.

First published in Paris Press Spiraling Poetry.

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