In Seoul, I wrote a poem for Julia, a Korean adoptee from New York now living in Israel. Some of you know her---I have not met her in person, but I know through correspondence over the internet how incredibly strong she is in the face of a serious and life-threatening battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. We corresponded early in 2008, exchanging ideas about community, health, and adoption, and when I learned of her most recent battles, for some reason I was moved to write a poem. I finished it in time to read it last Saturday night at KoRoot in Seoul. The person taking care of Julia's blog has posted my poem, called "Light," and you can read it here.
I would like to thank Jane Jeong Trenka for her inspiration at the poetry reading about sending Julia the poem. For information about bone marrow donation, please visit http://www.asianmarrow.org. To visit Julia's blog, please visit here. Julia, we are with you.
I am back in the United States now, adjusting to life here and missing Korea already. I miss the smells of the city, the friends I made, the food!, the sounds. I hope they will all simmer into and out of some new poems I'm working on.
On another Korea and poetry related note, I will be speaking in New York City on July 2, 2008 for The Korea Society. Details forthcoming.
* Update: horrible news: I am deeply saddened to hear that Julia Ji-Hye Mendelson passed away this morning, May 31, 2008, just days after her 25th birthday. Julia, may you rest in peace.