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.
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 & author of Shrapnel Maps
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," which was first published in Pleiades and is forthcoming in her debut chapbook of poems, Body Facts. Twitter: @Joeykim