Don Mee Choi
Past event


Don Mee Choi is a markedly influential figure in contemporary experimental poetry, combining the visual, the documentary, and the lyrical in her highly acclaimed books. Choi’s Kor-Us Trilogy (Hardly War, DMZ Colony, and the forthcoming Mirror Nation) intertwines her family history with the troubled and complex modern history of South Korea and its long entanglement with the power and ambitions of the United States. 2024’s Katie Jacobson Writer in Residence, Choi has already received some of the highest honors a literary artist can achieve—the National Book Award for 2020’s DMZ Colony and a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in recognition of her work in poetry and in the field of translation, where she’s introduced many English readers to some of the most innovative poets working in South Korea today. This evening of immersion in Choi’s work at REDCAT reflects how she expands our understanding of what poetry can do, while challenging us to experience the many layers of personal and cultural experience we call history.


A conversation with Don Mee Choi and poet and translator Yoon Ju Ellie Lee follows, with a reception and book signing in collaboration with Skylight Books.

[Choi’s] writing has showed me that discomfort is neither cruel nor condemnation, but a passageway towards freedom, or towards becoming feral, or freely frayed.

Christine Shan Shan Hou, Lit Hub

Presented by REDCAT, the MFA Program in Creative Writing of the California Institute of the Arts, the Katie Jacobson Writer in Residence Program, and GYOPO

The conversation is organized with GYOPO, a volunteer-led arts non-profit organization that works with cultural producers of the Korean Diaspora to organize free, year-round programs which address pressing issues of our time.

about the artist

Don Mee Choi

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Don Mee Choi (pronounced “Chae”) is the author of the National Book Award–winning collection DMZ Colony (Wave Books, 2020), Hardly War (Wave Books, 2016), The Morning News Is Exciting (Action Books, 2010), and several pamphlets of poems and essays. She is a recipient of fellowships from the MacArthur, Guggenheim, Lannan, and Whiting Foundations, as well as the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program. She has translated several collections of Kim Hyesoon’s poetry, including Autobiography of Death (New Directions, 2018), which received the International Griffin Poetry Prize. As the MacArthur Foundation wrote in awarding Choi its fellowship in 2021: “Choi’s intertwined practices as poet and translator bear witness to otherwise unspeakable histories and expand the range of expressive possibilities for writers from diasporic and multilingual backgrounds.”


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