Trash People, Korean Poetry

"Trash People" sculptures by HA Schultz Source:

“Trash People” sculptures by HA Schultz

Yi Yon-Ju made her literary debut in a Korean journal called World of Writers (Chakga ui sekye) in 1991. One of the nine poems published there was “Family Photo.” The same year, Yi’s first book of poetry, A Night Market Where There Are Prostitutes (Maeumnyo ka ittnun pam ui sijang) was published. Yi’s second collection of poems was published in 1993, after her death by suicide in 1992. Here is a short poem of hers, translated from the Korean by Don Mee Choi, as it appeared in Artful Dodge 44/45. Accompanying images selected from the internet by assistant editor, Ananya Shrestha.

"Seven Wasted Men" recycled art sculpture by Michelle Reader Source:

“Seven Wasted Men” recycled art sculpture by Michelle Reader

Yi Yon-ju

Festival of Waste

We are discarded clocks or broken radios,
old car seat covers or umbrellas with severed frames.

We sell useless kitchenware, old gas furnaces.
We buy worn-out shoes, clothes that don’t fit,
any burdensome goods.

Crinkled bills and discolored coins, we are.
Cut wire, we are.

No transmission, no reception.

‘Trash People” Exhibit in Tel Aviv, Israel Photo by Ariel Schalit/ AP Photo Source;

For more brilliant poetry, prose, graphic art, and translations subscribe to the Artful Dodge or check out our back issues at


About artfuldodgewooster

Ohio based literary magazine, now over twenty years old, still in print, and gradually spreading across the digital world. Official Website:
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