Stine An (안수연)

Stine An (안수연)

Photo courtesy of Stine An (안수연)


Stine An (안수연) is a poet, literary translator, and performer based in New York City. Her poetry and translations have appeared in the Southern Review, World Literature Today, Chicago Review, FENCE, Electric Literature, Black Warrior Review, Best American Experimental Writing 2018, Waxwing, Black Sun Lit, Pleiades, the Margins, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in literary arts from Brown University and a BA in literature from Harvard College, and has received support through fellowships and grants from the Poetry Project, the American Literary Translators Association, Vermont Studio Center, Yaddo, and the PEN/Heim Translation Fund. Her interdisciplinary work explores diasporic poetics, experimental translation, and virtual performance. She is a member of the BIPOC Literary Translators Caucus.

Project Description

To support the translation from the Korean of the poetry collection Today's Morning Vocabulary by South Korean poet Yoo Heekyung. Today's Morning Vocabulary is his debut poetry collection, featuring lyrical lineated poems and prose poems that grapple with loneliness, existential dread, the loss of a parent, the strangeness of others and of the self, and the minute and major griefs of daily living.

I’m deeply grateful to receive support from the National Endowment for the Arts from my place as an early-career translator. The fellowship provides me with the fuel to finish the translation project that I hope will be my first book publication and full-length debut as a literary translator. As an emerging translator, I’m heartened and encouraged by the NEA’s support for the work of literary translators and for literary translations as an ever-vital art form.

I’ve grown so much as a translator and poet while translating Yoo Heekyung’s poems. I chose to translate Yoo’s first poetry collection, Today’s Morning Vocabulary (Moonji Publications, 2011), because I was interested in Yoo’s earlier work from his time as an emerging writer. His debut collection introduces the poetics and the vocabulary he builds and refines in his later poetry and essay collections.

The poems in Yoo’s debut collection often feature a short title followed by a poetic exploration of the world evoked by the titular word or phrase. In my translation work, I sometimes approach the poems in this collection as new or alternate definitions for words that reflect the vocabulary of Yoo’s poetic world. The poems consider together a vocabulary of mourning, the vocabulary we encounter anew each morning, and the vocabulary that exists with us just for today. While his poems have a reputation for being difficult due to their syntactic complexity, I’ve embraced this complexity as a part of the unmistakable style and charm of Yoo’s poetry. Images, sensations, and emotions tremble and tumble into each other as they transform and transform again into something new and unfamiliar.

I had the chance to visit Seoul in May 2022 to meet and speak with Yoo at his poetry bookshop wit n cynical. During my visit, I witnessed firsthand his palpable influence and place within the literary community. Despite his widespread influence in the Korean poetry scene, Yoo’s poetry is unavailable in English translation outside of the individual translations I’ve published in literary journals over the past two years. This debut collection is essential to understanding Yoo’s flowering into the poet and artist he is today.

The NEA fellowship will allow me to dedicate resources and time to complete a translation of Today’s Morning Vocabulary and to introduce Yoo’s work and poetics to a broader audience through publication.

About Yoo Heekyung (유희경)

Yoo Heekyung (유희경) is a contemporary South Korean poet, playwright, and essayist. He is the author of seven collections of poetry and prose. Born in Seoul in 1980, Yoo studied creative writing with poet Kim Hyesoon at the Seoul Institute of the Arts and playwriting at the Korea National University of Arts. He is known in South Korea as a public advocate for building community through poetry, hosting, for example, a poetry variety show series on YouTube and a reading series that he broadcasts, records, and documents on Instagram. In 2019 Yoo was awarded the Hyundae Munhak Sang (Contemporary Literature Award) for his poetry. He is a playwright with the theater company 독 (dock) and a member of the poetry collective 작란 (作亂) (jaknan). In 2016, Yoo founded the poetry bookshop and project space wit n cynical.