Suji Kwock Kim


Suji Kwock Kim (1969-) is a Korean American poet educated at Yale University, the University of Iowa, Stanford University, and the University of California Berkeley. As a Fulbright Scholar, she studied at Seoul National University and Yonsei University. Kim is the author of the poetry collections Disorient and Notes from the Divided Country and she cowrote the play Private Property. Source

Monologue for an Onion

I don’t mean to make you cry.

I mean nothing, but this has not kept you

From peeling away my body, layer by layer,


The tears clouding your eyes as the table fills

With husks, cut flesh, all the debris of pursuit.

Poor deluded human: you seek my heart.


Hunt all you want. Beneath each skin of mine

Lies another skin: I am pure onion–pure union

Of outside and in, surface and secret core.


Look at you, chopping and weeping. Idiot.

Is this the way you go through life, your mind

A stopless knife, driven by your fantasy of truth,


Of lasting union--slashing away skin after skin

From things, ruin and tears your only signs

Of progress? Enough is enough.


You must not grieve that the world is glimpsed

Through veils. How else can it be seen?

How will you rip away the veil of the eye, the veil


That you are, you who want to grasp the heart

Of things, hungry to know where meaning

Lies. Taste what you hold in your hands: onion-juice,


Yellow peels, my stinging shreds. You are the one

In pieces. Whatever you meant to love, in meaning to

You changed yourself: you are not who you are,


Your soul cut moment to moment by a blade

Of fresh desire, the ground sown with abandoned skins.

And at your inmost circle, what? A core that is


Not one. Poor fool, you are divided at the heart,

Lost in its maze of chambers, blood, and love,

A heart that will one day beat you to death.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Persona Poems

Literary Devices:


the absence of a conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so…) between phrases and within a sentence


the usage of words in a clause that are repeated in reverse order


a line break interrupting the middle of a phrase which continues on to the next line


the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


a situation that seems to contradict itself


the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing


a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered