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"A Cruelty Special To Our Species" by Emily Jungmin Yoon

  • Kibbitznest 2212 North Clybourn Avenue Chicago, IL, 60614 United States (map)

Join us for a night packed with poetry readings, music, and discussion as we celebrate the launch of A Cruelty Special To Our Species with critically-acclaimed poet
Emily Jungmin Yoon.

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A Cruelty Special To Our Species

by Emily Jungmin Yoon

About the Book:

In her arresting collection, urgently relevant for our times, poet
Emily Jungmin Yoon confronts the histories of sexual violence against women, focusing in particular on Korean so-called “comfort women,” women who were forced into sexual labor in Japanese-occupied territories during World War II.

In wrenching language, A Cruelty Special to Our Species unforgettably describes the brutalities of war and the fear and sorrow of those whose lives and bodies were swept up by a colonizing power, bringing powerful voice to an oppressed group of people whose histories have often been erased and overlooked. “What is a body in a stolen country?” Yoon asks. “What is right in war?”

Moving readers through time, space, and different cultures, and bringing vivid life to the testimonies and confessions of the victims,Yoon takes possession of a painful and shameful history even while unearthing moments of rare beauty in acts of resistance and resilience, and in the instinct to survive and bear witness.


About the Author:

Emily Jungmin Yoon is the author of A Cruelty Special to Our Species (Ecco Books, September 2018) and Ordinary Misfortunes (Tupelo Press, July 2017), winner of the Sunken Garden Chapbook Prize. Her poems and translations have appeared in The New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, Poetry, and elsewhere. She has received awards and fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, Ploughshares’ Emerging Writer’s Contest, AWP’s WC&C Scholarship Competition, The Home School in Miami, the Aspen Institute, New York University, the University of Chicago, Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, and Sarah Lawrence College Summer Seminar for Writers. She is the Poetry Editor for The Margins, the literary magazine of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and a PhD student in Korean literature at the University of Chicago.


With Special Guests:

Franny Choi is the author of Soft Science (Alice James Books, 2019) and Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody Publishing, 2014), as well as a chapbook, Death by Sex Machine (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017). She has received fellowships from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the Helen Zell Writers Program, where she received her MFA. Her poems have appeared in PoetryAmerican Poetry Review, the New England Review, and elsewhere. She is a Kundiman fellow, an Editor of News and Politics at Hyphen Magazine, co-host of the podcast VS, and member of the Dark Noise Collective. 

TARFIA FAIZULLAH was born in 1980 in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Midland, Texas. She is the author of REGISTERS OF ILLUMINATED VILLAGES (forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2018), as well as a previous poetry collection, SEAM (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014), winner of a VIDA Award, a GLCA New Writers’ Award, a Milton Kessler First Book Award, Drake University Emerging Writer Award, and other honors. Her poems are published widely in periodicals and anthologies both in the United States and abroad, are translated into Persian, Chinese, Bengali, Tamil, and Spanish, have been featured at the Smithsonian, the Rubin Museum of Art, and elsewhere, and are the recipients of multiple awards, including a Fulbright Fellowship, three Pushcart Prizes, the Frederick Bock Prize from Poetry, and other honors.

Jeehye Ham is a folk singer-songwriter who spent years as a guitarist and vocalist South Korea independent rock scene. Her bands received praise both in South Korea and abroad, including invitations to SXSW and Glastonbury, and Korean Music Award nominations for Best Modern Rock Album and Rookie of the Year, and second place in Hello Rookie, a South Korean band television competition series. She moved to Chicago this year and is in the midst of recording her first solo release. 

Ethan Waddell has worked with many bands as both member and producer in both South Korea and the US. In 2017, he moved to Chicago to become a Ph.D. student. He studies Korean literature at the University of Chicago and is currently producing
Jeehye Ham's first album