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All The Daughters of The Earth 세상의 모든 딸들
Price per Unit (piece): KRW 12,000
USD 8.77
Author: Kim Ilyeon
Publisher: Seoul Selection
Pub. Date: Mar 2023
Pages: 184
Cover: Softcover
Dimensions (in inches): 5.2 x 8 x 0.5
ISBN: 9781624121524
Language: English / Korean
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About the Book


The first-ever dual-language collection of sijo poems by Kim Ilyeon in Korean and English

Reflections that are incomparably old and new, Korean and universal

Since the beginning of her writing career in 1980, Kim Ilyeon has published collections of sijo poetry every two to four years, for over four decades thus cementing herself as one of the most pivotal figures working in the genre. All the Daughters of the Earth, her first dual-language poetry collection featuring her original Korean sijo alongside their English translations, devotes its first section to verses about Kim’s parents and her daughter who lives overseas. This emphasis on universal human sentiments of familial love is an attempt to connect with readers in other countries. As in her past collections, Kim uses a delicate and warm tone to offer her own unique interpretations of objects and life. While her work stays true to the traditional sijo framework, the 66 poems in this collection are also presented in free and contemporary ways.


Publisher’s Review     

Capturing the breadth and depth of human existence in the sijo form

All the Daughters of the Earth is a collection of sijo poems by Kim Ilyeon, a poet who has published nine sijo collections since making her literary debut in 1980. In this collection, she juxtaposes the larger theme of “family” with the universal experience of contemporary lives and existence in long-standing communities. Fittingly enough for someone who has dedicated herself not only to creative activities but also to raising awareness of sijo through YouTube and other media, the collection is presented in both the original Korean and the English translation in an effort to bring sijo to a wider audience.

The poems here succeed in representing contemporary lives and the universality of human experience while adhering strictly to the rhythm that is one of the sijo genre’s defining features. In the words of fellow poet Ryu Mi-ya, who contributes her own interpretation of the work, this can be traced to the ways in which the poet “displays her own poetic sense, and at the same time does not hesitate to show an open mind in imagining the suffering of others and the hidden aspects of the world.” As they read through poems reflecting human lives that are at once universal, fundamental, and specific to the Korean experience, readers experience emotion and communion as if they were waves washing endlessly over a beach.


The quintessence of lyricism and reflection in language that is elegant and lucid

Kim Ilyeon captures the qualities of life with astonishing vividness in a single poem (“Song of a Clam”) and expresses her longing for her mother and for motherhood as the love behind all love and the origin of love (“A Star,” “A Daughter,” “To My Daughter in New York”). She shares reflections on the past and present of community life (“One Soft Clover Leaf,” “Drinking Cola,” “Water”), sketches images of Korea’s culture and life in its contemporary cities (“Arirang Variations,” “Seoul Jesus,” “In a Clothes Store,” “At Auntie’s Restaurant”), and reflects on the global experience and the connections of nature and life (“Epilogue in Mongolia,” “Fragrant Herbs in the Western Gobi,” “Eco-friendly Recipe”). Working within the close constraints of sijo conventions, Kim shows the quintessence of lyrics and reflection in language that is elegant and lucid.

The linguistic identity of Korean is reflected in today’s Korean Wave, with the sijo genre being a living, beating part of the Korean pulse. As a poet, Kim Ilyeon made it her life’s work to give this genre expression in beautiful songs that harbor the artist’s soul and love. Now it is time for the rest of the world to encounter sijo as a genre that is both incomparably old and new, profoundly Korean and resonant to each and every heart.



From the Collection


Since I could not open you with any blade


I quietly soaked you in mild brine.


I soaked songs in the worlds dewdrops.

Song of a Clam




If our bodies are seventy percent water at birth


Then its also seventy percent of

the squawking of crows and magpies, the color of cabbage white butterflies,

the bodies of very young insects and bodies smaller than insects,

the forests in Yosemite Park, the wild flowers in the Mongolian steppes,

the gentle eyes of baby horses climbing the ancient mountain tea route.


So water

must be seventy percent

of the Earth that produced all those.




Father used to sharpen pencils.


Mother used to iron military uniforms late into the night

and a star sharpening graphite-black darkness came down into the yard.


I was told that the sound of bullets grazing past was exactly the same.


A silence terrified by a water snake entering a pond

and the family was there as if lying in a tidy pencil case.

A Star


Hoping that you and the baby are okay,


Im sending a stroller from Amazon to the skyscraper jungle city,


a stroller that I spent ten months choosing, a sturdy one.

To My Daughter in New York



The ants cross it, the wind rests on it,


a flat rock with bird droppings on it,


abandoning mercy and desires, it finally achieves emancipation.

Reclining Buddha


About the Author


Kim Ilyeon

Kim Ilyeon was born in 1955 in Daegu, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Korea.

After graduating from the College of Education at Kyungpook National University, she worked as a middle school teacher and later as a reporter for Maeil Shinmun, a daily newspaper based in Daegu.

Having published poems from the age of 15, Kim became a sijo (a form of Korean traditional poetry) poet after being introduced in the journal, Sijo munhak (Sijo Literature), in 1980. Her books include sijo collections such as The House on the Empty Field, The Road to the Western Regions, When the Flowers Bloom on Their Own, Burning the Moon House, Master Singer, Watching the Stars While Lying on My Belly, Flower Precipice, A Spring Day Spent with You, and A Clean Climax, and her childrens storybook, Footprints in the Sky.

She has won a number of awards including the Yusim Literature Prize and the Gosan Literary Award. As part of an effort to promote sijo in and outside Korea, she founded and is running a YouTube channel called Sijo-Tube.


Translator _ Brother Anthony of Taizé

Brother Anthony of Taizé (An Sonjae) was born in 1942 in the UK. He studied at Oxford University and in 1969 he joined the Taizé Community in France. He came to Korea in 1980. He is an emeritus professor at Sogang University and a chair-professor at Dankook University. Since 1990 he has published more than sixty volumes of translated works by such esteemed Korean authors as Jeong Ho-seung, Kim Seung-Hee and J. M. Lee. He was President of the Royal Asiatic Society Korea for ten years. In 2015 he was awarded an honorary MBE by Queen Elizabeth for his contributions to Anglo-Korean relations.






Poets Message



A Daughter | A Star | Mother | Ink | Geungnakgang | Late Autumn | Mountain Ridge | Pajamas | Mother | Guanyin | My Lifes Taro | At the Noodle Restaurant | A Saint | One Saury | Fruitless Flower | Nostalgia | To My Daughter in New York | When the Evening DeepensRegarding Js Picture | Odongdos Camellias



The Sun | Life | First Love | Full Bloom | A Rock Pillar | Spring Dream | Sky and Lake | A Crossroads | Wind Burial | A Swan Asleep | A Waterfall | October | Buttercup and Celandine | A Flower Pot | Dawn Moon | Autumn Begins | Reclining Buddha



Arirang Variations | Unable to Forget | Seoul Jesus | At Aunties Restaurant | A Man Who Works Overtime and Buys Socks | Temple Tea | In a Clothes Store | One Soft Clover Leaf | Crying Landscape | Jumping | Epilogue in Mongolia | Drinking Cola | Fragrant Herbs in the Western Gobi | Eco-friendly Recipe | Water



Song of a Clam | Poem on a Snowy Evening | Longing | The Ancient Tea Route | Waiting |  The Source of Beauty | A Sound of Water | Distant Love | At the Airport | Wilderness in my Heart | Water Flowers | Strength to Live | Learning from Blades of Grass | On the Way | The Wind is Blowing | September


The Ancient Novelty Called Sijo Ryu Mi-ya


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