This article explores the configuration of female intersubjectivity demonstrated in the film Poetry (Si, 2010) by Lee Chang-dong (Yi Ch’angdong), as well as the power of poetry to conjure the dead and provide space and voice for marginalized and silenced women. The focus of the film is Mija, a woman in her mid-sixties who works as a caregiver to a disabled man while raising a grandson on her own. Just as Mija discovers that her grandson has been implicated in a sex crime that led to a girl’s death, she learns that she herself is in the first stage of Alzheimer’s disease. It is through poetry that Mija mourns her own impending death and also that of the young girl, who is otherwise consigned to oblivion under the phallocentric order of South Korean society. Lee Chang-dong’s film, this article argues, shows that despite the impossibility of poetry in the face of tragedy, lyric imagination offers women the power to escape the patriarchal imposition of silence and preserve a story of their own.

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