The following is an excerpt from Split This Rock Program Assistant Alicia Gregory's review of The Postman. For the full review at Foreign Policy In Focus, click here.
Driving the poem through a textured patchwork of history, modern culture, and metaphor is the steady figure of the postman. Specifically, as we learn in the first section of the poem, the postman is Joseph Roulin—a friend to Vincent Van Gogh and the subject of a number of his paintings. This identity is significant: kind, devoted Roulin was said to have been the only man who stood beside Van Gogh after he famously cut off his own ear after a fight with Gauguin. Projecting the goodness of Roulin on his postman, Mun breathes life into the figure that strengthens human relationships by acting as a loyal connector.