In his lifetime, Suyong Kim published only one volume of poetry, A Game Played in the Moon, in 1959. After his death in a car accident in 1968, further collections of poetry and of his critical essays were published. Kim’s later works focus on the most ordinary events of daily life. His poems are often prosaic, since he consciously rejected techniques of rhythm.
In this place where the people called men are all in anguish
After July, 1950, the helicopter
Upon this endless time with more than its share of despair
Your ancestors, together with ours
Questions for Reflection: “Helicopter”
- What is the anguish of which Kim speaks of in the first lines of the poem? What is it that the young poets knew?
- What is the significance of the helicopter? Why does it evoke sorrow for some? What is its power? What is the irony it presents?
- How would you assess the use of the words “freedom” and “anguish” in the poem?
- What human qualities does Kim extend to the helicopter? What are the similarities of the helicopter’s life to those of the Koreans of whom him speaks?