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Hardly War, Don Mee Choi's major second collection, defies history, national identity, and militarism. Using artifacts from Choi's father, a professional photographer during the Korean and Vietnam wars, she combines memoir, image, and opera to explore her paternal relationship and heritage. Here poetry and geopolitics are inseparable twin sisters, conjoined to the belly of a warring empire.
Like fried potato chips - I believe so,
utterly so - The hush-hush proving
ground was utterly proven as history -
Hardly=History - I believe so, eerily so
- hush hush - Now watch this
performance - Bull's-eye - An uncanny
human understanding on target -
Absolute=History - loaded with
terrifying meaning - The Air Force
doesn't say, hence Ugly=Narration -
Don Mee Choi is the author of The Morning News Is Exciting (Action Books, 2010), and translator of contemporary Korean women poets. She has received a Whiting Writers Award and the 2012 Lucien Stryk Translation Prize. Her translation of Kim Hyesoon's Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream (Action Books, 2014) was a finalist for the 2015 PEN Poetry in Translation Award. She was born in Seoul and came to the United States via Hong Kong. She now lives in Seattle, Washington.