Vol.60 Summer 2023
The term “climate crisis” has lost its alarming tone despite the increased sense of urgency. We have become desensitized to the daily barrage of news reports on climate change and are being led by a misguided sense of optimism that time is still on our side. Statistical data is no longer effective in spurring people into action, and distressing predictions about the future haven’t managed to prompt significant lifestyle changes among the general public.
The time has come for us to reflect on the role of literature in the face of this ongoing crisis. With its ability to turn abstract ideas into visceral feelings, fiction allows us to convey factual information into more relatable terms. While literature isn’t the only means we have to depict our reality and look ahead into the future, it has the unique advantage of being able to instill a deep awareness in readers.
The sixtieth issue of KLN turns its eyes to the climate grief looming on the horizon, featuring valuable insights from contributors such as author Choi Jeonghwa, animal behavior researcher Won Young Lee, and literary critic Heo Hee. With the release of the short story collection The Weathermaster, Choi Jeonghwa hoped to ignite a climate activism movement in Korean literature. The work’s overarching message, which calls for humans to respond to the climate crisis by bringing a stop to all forms of consumption, conveys the resoluteness of the author’s stance. Choi’s climate activism, which extends beyond her writing and into her daily activities as a citizen, is sure to inspire readers.
Kim Seong Joong’s “Martian Child,” featured in the Bookmark section, is a story of solidarity which brings humans and non-humans, living and nonliving things, together in a beautiful allegory of birth. The young author’s refreshing and unrestrained sense of imagination, which is conveyed through the translation, will leave a lasting impression on readers.
The Featured Writer section focuses the spotlight on poet Ra Heeduk, featuring some of her works and an exclusive interview conducted by Lee Da Hee. A former student of Ra now turned poet herself, Lee engages with Ra in a dialogue offering brilliant insights into the meaning of poetry and the inseparability of writing poetry and living as a poet.
— Yong-jun Jung, Editorial Board Member, KLN