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Kimbap Combo at SMPL: Tanya Ko-Hong Mixes Poetic Imagery and Ingredients For Eats Series

By Sam Skopp

 

In an event celebrating national Indie Author Day and the month-long Santa Monica Eats series of food-related events, Santa Monica Public Library (SMPL) hosted a poetry and kimbap making workshop led by author Tanya Ko-Hong, Sat. Oct. 14.

Prior to Ko-Hong’s workshop, a small press panel and author Amin Sadeghpour took center stage, the two events coinciding due to changing schedules.

“Tanya’s a poet as well as a cook,” said Public Services Librarian Robert Graves. “It just synergistically all went together.”

Ko-Hong explained that she began holding food and poetry workshops as a way of building a cultural bridge of experience into the Korean community of which she’s a part. The food element both exposes participants to a unique element of Korean culture, and gets participants more enthusiastic about the poetry. To prepare for this event, she began cooking food at 6 in the morning.

“When you’re hands-on, they’re crazy about it,” said Ko-Hong. “Within three minutes they’re writing amazing poems.”

Ko-Hong’s work has been published in both Korean and English. Last month, a poem of hers was published in Women’s Voice Now, and her work has previously been in the Beloit Poetry Journal, Writers at Work and more.

“I do a lot of bittersweet immigrant stories,” Ko-Hong said.

To read one of Ko-Hong’s poems, visit thewvoice.com/Comfort-Women, and for more information on upcoming Santa Monica Library events, including their full “menu” of Santa Monica Eats programming, visit smpl.org.

Kimbap that the writer made with Ko-Hong’s instruction.

Photos: Sam Skopp.

Ko-Hong alongside her kimbap-making materials.
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