Lucille Medwick Memorial Award - 2012
Suji Kwock Kim
Ilya Kaminsky on Suji Kwok Kim
"Hotel Utopia" is a poem written in a tone that attempts to take an epic proportion via lyrical means. It creates the world where "soldiers play soldiers, factory workers play factory workers…walking back to the first station, reentering, riding to the same stop again." Yes, this is North Korea, but also the world where a poet's mind offers us a realm of imagination, we see "Great Leader hang on every wall, / staring like a shorter, fatter Mao"— here the realm of the political is the realm of the psychological, where "the not-I in the I" opens onto "silence that is never silent in this country."