Regarding her highly acclaimed first book of poetry, Notes from the Divided Country, second-generation Korean American poet Suji Kwock Kim has stated that she considers the representation of the traumatic experiences of the Korean War as “the responsibility that one has, in terms of using the imagination as a means of compassion, and understanding things one couldn't have experienced.” If Notes from the Divided Country is a work created from a sense of ethical responsibility, we could perhaps also see it more specifically as a project of ethical memory and ask, along with ethnic studies scholar Jodi Kim, “What does it mean to want to represent or ‘remember’ a war that has been ‘forgotten’ and erased in the U.S. popular imaginary, but has been transgenerationally seared into the memories of Koreans and Korean Americans, and experienced anew every day in a still-divided Korea?” Notes from the Divided Country in many ways grapples with this very question and can be seen as an effort to remember the “Forgotten War” through vivid, chilling, moving poems that depict the enduring trauma of wartime violence from the perspective of diasporic postmemory. Taking Hirsch's work on Holocaust photos as a point of departure, this article reads in the poem “Generation” the poetics of postmemory and the ethics of memory from the perspective of diasporic subjectivity.
Sandra So Hee Chi Kim; Suji Kwock Kim's “Generation” and the Ethics of Diasporic Postmemory. positions 1 August 2016; 24 (3): 653–667. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-3618202
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