On Crossing Into The Zone Of Literature

Kim Hyesoon at Poetry Magazine:

Living trapped by viruses, surrounded by culturenature, and exposed to all kinds of media—writers, self-help books, chefs, singers, filmmakers, even comedians—I don’t want to be comforted, yet they pounce on me, to comfort me, to empathize. Startled, I get frightened. And, conversely, I become even more frightened when I’m asked who my poetry comforts. Therefore, when someone even utters the word comfort, I want to run and hide. I don’t think I’ve ever comforted anyone with my writing. Moreover, I think literature betrays the readers’ desire to be consoled. Perhaps literature crosses into a zone where consolation can’t intervene, evaporating any possibility of comfort. Just as there is no geometric or genetic consolation, literary work merely constructs an afterimage or alternative symmetrical pattern of the event that occurs. The ventriloquist lives inside literature. Ventriloquy is a deception. The writer first deceives herself. And she deceives the reader. Both are aware of the deception. The persona crosses into a zone of literature, the symmetrical world of existence. Thus literature is a lie. Fiction set as reality is a lie; poetry set as language is a lie. The ventriloquy of literature moves, riding the spiral of lies. And so there can be no consolation at the end of the lies. There is only failure, grief, and self-erasure.

more here.