Joey S. Kim is a scholar, creative writer, and Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Toledo. Her poetry ventures through Korean history, the feminine body, U.S. foreign policy, and coming-of-age in midwestern America. She researches nineteenth-century global Anglophone literature and poetics. Her work has been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Pleiades: Literature in Context, Burningword Literary Journal, Essays in Romanticism, and elsewhere. She is a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee for her poem "Plunder," a poem forthcoming in her debut chapbook of poems, Body Facts, and first published in Pleiades.
Body Facts tells the story of a speaker who is Korean, American, woman, and body. It weaves together Korean history and aesthetics, the speaker’s childhood and family stories, U.S. foreign policy with North Korea, and the things we do and shouldn’t do to our bodies.
“Our bodies hold and hide our histories. Line by line, Joey Kim breaks us open to expose our yearnings, secrets, and untold treasures, saving us from our own fortress of history, propriety, and shame. Kim’s Body Facts is our needed revelation.”
—Min Jin Lee, author of Free Food For Millionaires and Pachinko, a National Book Award Finalist
“What does it mean to inhabit a body in a country where that body is perceived as a ‘fearful symmetry’? In her poignant and vivid Body Facts, Joey Kim stitches the story of a body, her body, taking it back from the knives of Western sight, and in the process, stitches back the seen and unseen legacy of ancestors and family: her Harabeoji, Halmoni, Umma, and Appa. She asks: ‘how do you spend one language and save / another?’—an ambiguity that suggests either language and person. How can our tongues reach back to save the lives that have disappeared, through immigration or oppression? Though she may not have inherited Korean from her parents, Kim's poems stretch to become a prayer ‘in a language I do not know’ that aims to save another—and maybe our own selves in the process.”
—Philip Metres, 2020 Guggenheim fellow and author of Shrapnel Maps
“Joey Kim’s collection, Body Facts, dynamically assesses the tolls that racism, war, and capitalism take on our abilities to freely dream, to revel in the differing intricacies of identity. Kim’s work, from multiple angles, portrays the ways in which peace and beauty are forced to find new escapes from tyrants and the fallouts of their power. Kim admirably illustrates present and historical threats, all while rendering the ageless brilliance of family and spirit.”
—Marcus Jackson, author of Pardon My Heart, the 2019 Ohioana Book Award winner for Poetry