4 Female Poets Will Examine Cultural Bounds

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4 Female Poets Will Examine Cultural Bounds

A special literary event will take place in Seoul on Thursday. Titled "Cross Culture- Changing Letters: Other Cultures and Me," this unique poetry reading session will present the work of four female writers. Three of them live and write in countries other than that of their origin, and the work of the fourth reflects the cultural traditions of her homeland.

Organized by Irise Brose, a professor of German language at Hongik University, the program will mainly concentrate on the three foreign writers, Yoko Tawada, Sabine Scholl and Zsuzsanna Gahse. All three have in common a relationship with German culture, developed at some point in their lives. The fourth participant will be Park Wan-seo, the legendary Korean writer.

Zsuzsanna Gahse, who wrote "Zero" and "Vinegars and Oil," will be presenting her introspective writing, which deals with the mother-daughter relationship often brought up within the context of feminist discourse. An immigrant to Austria of Hungarian descent, her works are based on the experience of living as an immigrant in a country that had excluded foreigner-residents for years. The works therefore reflect a sense of longing toward the "home," which the writer's family left after the political uprising in 1956.

Yoko Tawada, a Japanese writer, playwright and linguistic scholar, who wrote "How Could the Ice in Wind Be" and "Where Europe Starts," introduces her new collection of writing which has not yet been published.

Sabine Scholl, a New York-based interdisciplinary writer of Austrian descent who received the 1996 Ingeborg Bachman Award, has also joined the group. Ms. Scholl's writing makes a poetic reference to the writer's fluctuating identity and how this shifting notion of place often plays in her writing practice.

Park Wan-seo, whose subtle style of writing often reflects the cultural traditions of the everyday lives of Koreans, is frequently referred to as "the people's writer." Ms. Park's books have been translated into English and German.

Ms. Brose, the program organizer, says that the reading will be mainly focused on "observational works" by immigrant writers. It will present a rare chance for local residents, both Korean and foreign, to encounter a series of texts that transcend the boundary between language and geography.

The event will be held at 7:30 p.m. at Ssamzie Space, followed by an open discussion on cultural identity. The panel will be in Korean, German and English. For more information, call 02-320-1775 (English service available).

by Park Soo-mee

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