UC Berkeley, April 21, 2006. Brother Anthony
Voices Translated: Modern Korean Poetry from So Chong-ju to Kim Kwang-kyu
This afternoon, I would like to try to situate the voices heard in some
examples of translated Korean poetry within a more universal framework
of reference and debate, before we go on to listen to the living voices
of poets reading to us across boundaries.
We all know that “A poem should not mean But be,” as Archibald MacLeish
said in his Ars Poetica (1926) but we should try to distinguish between
various poems’ ways of being, or rather, of speaking. Put simply, most
of the world’s short poems, those we tend to call “lyrics” or “songs,”
are “spoken” by a generalized first-person voice that has only a vague
link with the actual poet who wrote the poem; we do not expect such
poems to express a very personal, private experience. When we sing “My
love is like a red, red rose” we do not really wonder or need to know
what particular person Robert Burns had in mind when he wrote it.
Contemporary poetry has become far more directly personal, often quite
confessional, and today the directly autobiographical quality of a
poem’s voice is often asserted. But there are also still many poems
where the speaking “I” is quite clearly not at all the poet, but a
different person altogether, a kind of fictional, dramatic persona.
T. S. Eliot published in 1953 a lecture entitled “The Three Voices of
Poetry,” in which he attempted to identify the essential quality of
lyric poetry in terms of the voice speaking it. He identified three
different voices in various kinds of poetry:
“The first voice is the voice of the poet talking to himself–or to
nobody. The second is the voice of the poet addressing an audience,
whether large or small. The third is the voice of the poet when he
attempts to create a dramatic character speaking in verse.” (109)
For Eliot, truly “lyric” poetry was of the first kind, a very personal
kind of poetry that is in no sense addressed to any kind of audience
but is “overheard” by readers. He went on to quote the German poet
Gottfried Benn, who in his lecture “Probleme der Lyrik” suggested that
the origin of a true lyric was “an inert embryo or ‘creative germ’”
within the poet. Eliot then quoted two lines of Beddoes: “it is . . . a
bodiless childful of life in the gloom / Crying with frog voice, ‘what
shall I be?’” before going on: “ . . . the poet is oppressed by a
burden which he must bring to birth, in order to obtain relief. Or to
change the figure, he is haunted by a demon, a demon against which he
feels powerless, because in its first manifestation it has no face, no
name, nothing; and the words, the poem he makes, are a kind of form of
exorcism of this demon.” (On Poetry and Poets, 106-7) Much earlier, in
1933, Eliot had written in The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism
that the lyric begins “with a savage beating a drum in a jungle, and it
retains that essential of percussion and rhythm; hyperbolically, one
might say that the poet is older than other human beings.” (155)
In 1985, the critic Daniel Albright published a
study, Lyricality in English Literature, in which he quoted Eliot, then
challenged his idea:
I believe that we should not look to the criterion of audience, or of
fictitiousness, to distinguish the lyrical from its opposite. Intuition
suggests that poems uttered by elaborate fictions are not necessarily
less lyrical than poems spoken by a bland, inconspicuous I. (222)
But for someone trying to find criteria allowing us to make a
significant distinction between the poems of Sŏ Chŏng-ju and of Kim
Kwang-kyu, Albright has something better to offer at the start of his
W. H. Auden, in his essay on Robert Frost, says that every poem exists
in a state of tense equilibrium between two competing tendencies, which
he calls Ariel and Prospero, the spirit of unearthly fantasy and the
spirit of unflinching truthfulness, fidelity to our actual miserable
state. Ariel, says Auden, presides over the realm of imagination, in
which images keep shifting and sliding effortlessly, beautifully, into
other images, but in which nothing serious can happen. Ariel, then, is
simply a disengaged, dispassionate, almost contentless creativity, an
imagination so engrossed in the continual play of images that it cannot
be bothered to attend to the real. (2)
Of course, in literary criticism nobody ever has the last word. In
2004, the poet and translator Charles Martin wrote in the New Criterion
an article “The three voices of contemporary poetry” in which he
The domain of Eliot’s first voice, that of the poet speaking to himself
or to no one, has expanded considerably, in ways that he might not have
foreseen. The private voice seems everywhere in poetry today. It may be
argued that poetry began to lose its audience not when poets began
talking to themselves or to no one–poets have always done that sort of
thing–but when they began doing it as though there were no other
choice, as though the possibilities for dramatic or reciprocal speech
did not exist.
A little later, he quotes Robert Creeley’s poem “The Pattern” which begins “As soon as / I speak, I speaks,” then continues:
Creeley appears to be speaking to himself, or to no one, because there
are no other options. The subject of his poem is, in fact, the
impossibility of reciprocal discourse (. . .) The self that speaks
creates a self aware of itself speaking, interposing that
self-awareness between the speaker and the audience. (. . .) There is
another voice current in contemporary poetry, resembling the private
voice in its refusal of reciprocal speech, but different in its
intention. I have taken to thinking of it as the prophetic voice, in
that its intention is to speak for, rather than to, another.
Modern Korean poetry begins with a strong inclination to the intensely
lyrical, symbolist poem, whether that is rooted in traditional forms,
both native and Chinese, as is the case with Kim So-Wol, or in the
European symbolism and imagism introduced by Japanese translations of
the works of French Symbolists and Modernists. This current was
challenged already during the Japanese colonial period (1910-1945) by
calls for a socially relevant, functionally useful literature, as well
as by a desire to introduce nationalistic subtexts expressing
resistance to Japanese domination. Here, I believe, we can quite
usefully introduce Auden’s sense of a conflict between an oriental
Ariel of lovely, drifting images and a transposed Prospero of socially
After Liberation in 1945, with the triumphant return of the Korean
language, the intensely lyrical poems of Sŏ Chŏng-Ju and other poets of
the art-for-art’s-sake trend came to dominate South Korean poetry. In
part this reflects a government-inspired, ideological imposition of
critical norms provoked by the support given to socialism and,
ultimately, to North Korea by many more socially oriented writers.
The first voice that I want us to hear is that found in the poems
Midang (Sŏ Chŏng-ju) composed in the later 1930s, published in 1941
under Japanese domination. This voice is surely not to be understood as
in any sense autobiographical; it seems ecstatic, esoteric even,
resolutely “poetic” and it might in some ways recall Eliot’s image of
the poet’s inner demon producing his lyrics. It is entirely the voice
of Auden’s Ariel:
The path winds between fields of crimson flowers
which picked and eaten yield sleep-like death.
Calling me after, my love races on,
along the sinuous ridge-road, that sprawls
like a serpent opium-dazed.
Blood from my nostrils flows fragrant
filling my hands as I speed along.
In this scorching noontide still as night
our two bodies blazing. . .
That intensely sensual lyricality, where the voice is far from being
obviously the poet’s own, remains present, though no longer directly
sexual, in the title-poem from the collection Kwichok-do
(“Nightingale”) published in 1948, soon after Liberation:
The path my love took is speckled with tears.
Playing his flute, he began the long journey
to western realms, where azalea rains fall.
Dressed all in white so neat, so neat,
my love's journey's too long, he'll never return.
I might have tressed shoes or sandals of straw
woven strand by strand with all our sad story.
Cutting off my poor hair with a silver blade,
I might have used that to weave sandals for him.
In the weary night sky, as silk lanterns glow,
a bird sings laments that it cannot contain,
refreshing its voice in the Milky Way's meanders;
eyes closed, intoxicated with its own blood.
My dear, gone to heaven's end alone!
Here we have a kind of dramatic monologue in which we can sense a
mythical dimension coming into play; the translator can only indicate
by a footnote that the bird’s name is composed of Chinese characters
meaning “Road back to the land of Shu,” echoing a legend that the
plaintive call of the Scops Owl of nature is the ghostly voice of a
Chinese prince who died in exile, longing for home. This poem’s
speaking voice is female and it seems to echo classical Chinese models
where a wife yearns for an absent husband. The lyricism lies partly in
the evocation of romantic separation, intuitions of loss, but the final
stanza takes that beyond the personal and into the cosmic realms.
It seems clear that Auden’s Prospero has no influence over such poems.
In the years of Japanese rule, many other poets wrote in not unsimilar,
highly lyric voices. The first generation of poets who began to write
in South Korea after the Korean War (1950-53) can also for the most
part be characterized as aestheticizing lyricists in a Modernist mould.
The renewal and transformation of Korean poetry, when it did come, may
have been in part inspired by the new social challenges represented by
the failure of the hopes for a more democratic, open society after the
tragic sacrifice of young lives during the 1960 April Revolution,
completed by the military coup of the following year; this coincides
with the implementation of a policy of intense modernization by
urbanization and industrialization that put an end to what was left of
traditional Korean society.
Two different voices stand out in the renewal of lyric poetry at this
time, the intellectual voice of the Modernist Kim Su-Yŏng, whose first
poem dates from 1953 and the more spontaneous, homely voice of Shin
Kyŏng-Nim, who started to write in 1956. In the years before 1960, Kim
Su-yŏng wrote in the generally accepted, impersonal lyric manner, with
I have been singing too many avant-garde songs.
I have been too neglectful of the beauty of stillness.
For a moment, I will perch my weary body,
light as a sparrow, on your not so unseemly branches.
Maturing has been the task of every sage since Socrates,
putting in order
is the task of poets in this strife-ridden twentieth century.
Still the trees grow on; the soul, too, and precepts, commands.
While I belong
to a generation unable to forgive excessive commands,
though this generation is a night that demands
I know how to sing like an owl in a night such as this.
A wretched song,
a filthy song, a lifeless song:
ah, yet another command.
That poem is dated 1957. It expresses in a particularly vivid, forceful
way Auden’s tension between Ariel and Prospero, seeming to be a call
for help from Prospero in a poetic world dominated by Ariel. But the
events of April 1960 and their unsatisfactory aftermath obliged Kim
Su-Yŏng to review his life’s and his art’s fundamental options, and he
became the leader of a different avant-garde, notably by his call for
the use of ‘ordinary language’ in poetry. Not that his own poetry
became much more accessible. It is ironic that his last poem, destined
to become his most famous, although it was still unpublished when he
was killed by a bus one evening in 1968, is written in a far simpler
style, because critics still argue bitterly about what Kim Su-yŏng
meant to say by it. Even here, Ariel dominates:
The grass is lying flat.
Fluttering in the east wind that brings rain in its train,
the grass lay flat
and at last it wept.
As the day grew cloudier, it wept even more
and lay flat again.
The grass is lying flat.
It lies flat more quickly than the wind.
It weeps more quickly than the wind.
It rises more quickly than the wind.
The day is cloudy, the grass is lying flat.
It lies low as the ankles
low as the feet.
Though it lies flat later than the wind,
it rises more quickly than the wind
and though it weeps later than the wind,
it laughs more quickly than the wind.
The day is cloudy, the grass’s roots are lying flat.
By contrast, Shin Kyŏng-Nim’s first published volume, Farmer’s Dance
(1973), remains in retrospect an amazingly innovative work. After
nearly 10 years of poetic silence, he spoke out from among the laboring
classes he had been living with, classes previously not thought to have
any poetry to offer, in poems quite often using a plural “We” as
speaking persona and finding the poetic within the arid and desolate
realities of a Korea where urbanization was beginning to destroy what
the war had spared of tradition. With Shin, as with the thoughtful
poetry of Kim Su-yŏng, we seem to lose sight of Eliot’s exorcised
demon, and if there is a lyric quality that transforms Shin’s
experiences it probably comes from his deep relationship with the
native folksong tradition, rather than from modernist notions or
shamanistic possession. With him, we have a new sense of ‘reality’ and
Prospero confronts Ariel without being able to send him off completely.
Witness Shin Kyŏng-Nim’s own favorite poem:
The sky urges me to turn into a cloud,
the earth urges me to turn into a breeze,
a little breeze waking weeds on the ferry landing
once storm clouds have scattered and rain has cleared.
To turn into a peddler sad even in autumn light,
going to Mokkye Ferry, three days’ boat ride from Seoul,
to sell patent face-powders, on days four and nine.
The hills urge me to turn into a flower,
the stream urges me to turn into a stone.
To hide my face in the grass when hoarfrost bites,
to wedge behind rocks when rapids rage cruel.
To turn into a traveler with pack laid by, resting
on a clay hovel’s wood step, river shrimps boiling up,
changed into a fool for a week or so, once in thrice three years.
The sky urges me to turn into a breeze,
the hills urge me to turn into a stone.
Meanwhile, the earliest work of Ko Un emerged in the late 1950s and the
early 1960s. It too was intensely lyrical, sensual, far removed from
his later reputation as an ‘engaged poet,’ an ‘activist’ or a
‘dissident.’ In the face of his often repeated insistence that, when he
began to write, he knew almost nothing of the poetry written before him
and yet needed no master, we are thrown back on Eliot’s image of the
lyric impulse as “an inert embryo.” Ko Un’s vast output is too broad a
theme for a brief presentation such as this, but it is worth recalling
that he still quite frequently compares his way of writing poetry to
the way spirits speak through the lips of a possessed shaman. One
example of his early, lyric voice would be:
O waves, the spring rain falls
and dies on your sleeping silence.
The darkness in your waters soars above you
and by the spring rain on your sleeping waters
by spring rain even far away
far-off rocks are changed to spring.
Above these waters where we two lie sleeping
looms a rocky mass, all silence.
But still the spring rain falls and dies.
Powerfully lyric stuff! Yet we should not forget that in 1983,
preparing to publish his Complete Poems, Ko Un cancelled or rewrote
most of the early poems on which his reputation rested, denouncing the
‘evil’ he felt was expressing itself in them. Eliot’s ‘demon’ was for
him far too close to an uncontrolled passion, and of course the Latin
word ‘furor’ was always used to indicate the overwhelming power of the
inspiring spirit of both poetry and other kinds of oracle. Yet although
Ko Un’s poetry has integrated the dimensions of history and of
carefully researched biography in the 7 volumes of Baekdu-san or the 23
so far published of Ten Thousand Lives, his way of writing seems to
remain close to the automatic writing sometimes practiced in seances.
His poems, he claims, write themselves, as Ariel’s might. Prospero’s do
not do that.
Ko Un’s voices are multiple, inevitably, and it is impossible to say
much more about them here. Here is what may be considered his most
famed poem, one that rang out at many demonstrations during the 1980s.
What voice is speaking here is hard to say. Certainly we cannot say
that the poet is speaking ‘to himself or to no one’ for rather here the
poem is addressed by many to many. Perhaps that is what Martin meant by
Body and soul, let's all go
transformed into arrows!
Piercing the air
body and soul, let's go
with no turning back
burdened with the pain of striking home
never to return.
One last breath! Now, let's be off
throwing away like rags
everything we've had for decades
everything we've enjoyed for decades
everything we've piled up for decades,
all, the whole thing.
Body and soul, let's all go
transformed into arrows!
The air is shouting! Piercing the air
body and soul, let's go!
In dark daylight, the target rushes towards us.
Finally, as the target topples in a shower of blood
let's all, just once, as arrows
Never to return! Never to return!
Hail, arrows, our nation's arrows!
Hail, our nation's warriors! Spirits !
The continuing polarization of Korean literary circles, perhaps
encouraged by writers’ differing responses to the politics and protests
of the 1970s, led to an idea of there being 2 rival ‘schools,’ one
putting the main stress on abstract values of aesthetic beauty and the
portrayal of an abstract ideal of human dignity, the other demanding
democracy and a literature related to the real life of ordinary people.
But the generation of Korean writers who matured in the Park Jung-Hee
years tended to feel the need for a combination of the values of both
‘schools,’ seeing no point in a poetry that was devoid of lyrical
beauty, or utterly divorced from social reality. Perhaps equally
important, it had become clear by then that every poet had to follow a
different path, write in a personal manner.
I want to consider poems by three poets from this generation, Hwang
Dong-Kyu, Mah Chonggi and Kim Kwang-Kyu, because they are, each in his
own way, indicative of the changes in the Korean poetic voice. In them,
the tension between Ariel and Prospero is harmonized in new, though
differing, ways. They cannot really be considered to constitute any
kind of ‘school’ but they have been personal friends for a very long
time now, and obviously share many of the same ideas about what it is
to be a poet. Behind them, of course, stand a host of other, older
poets such as Pak Tu-jin, Kim Ch’un-su, and Cho Byŏng-hwa, for example,
who encouraged this new generation.
Of the three younger poets just named, Hwang Dong-Kyu and Mah Chonggi
both began to write and publish in or about 1960 and all three were
young adults, students, at the time of the April Revolution. Hwang, son
of a famous novelist and the oldest of them, remained closest to the
symbolist lyric tradition inspired by Sŏ Chŏng-Ju. But he is far from
Midang’s exotic mythologies:
When I See a Wheel
When I see a wheel I long to make it turn.
Cycle wheels, pram wheels, rickshaw wheels,
I long to make even turning wheels turn.
When I'm climbing a steep hill
I long to make even car wheels turn.
On the road everything is unseen
and seen, the childhood days I long to demolish are unseen
and seen, the woods front and back where
different flocks of birds used to chirp
are seen and unseen, the republic of short breath is unseen
and seen; the tangerines piled on streetside stalls,
the pots upturned in the pottery store, people lying curled up:
before everything collapses, just once,
I want to make them turn, on the flying road.
Hwang’s poetry is still Modernist in the sense that it is often
difficult, and not immediately, obviously personal in any confessional
sense. But it never abandons the realities of life, either. By
contrast, Mah Chonggi’s poetry has its origins in an intensely
personal, real situation; many of his early poems were written out of
the anguish provoked by his studies and experiences as a medical
student and trainee doctor. Later poems had other origins, but many, if
not all, are equally deeply rooted in personal realities. But Ariel is
there, too, transforming even the darkest shadows. His early poems on
clinical death are uniquely autobiographical:
When the light goes out in the westward sickroom,
the dark shadow of winter
passes beyond the low hills
and the chill bricks of the autopsy room
ring to the sound of a skull being sawed,
it’s no finale.
I first learned about
natural life in anatomy class.
That’s when the cold came.
On my lonely, youthful bed
I often found myself sentenced to death.
The dazzling vertigo of the remaining hours.
Don’t you see? The solitary deathbed
of the tall guy who gave up.
Don’t you see? This is no finale.
So, at last, we come to Kim Kwang-Kyu. His poetic history is
particularly interesting because he first developed his poetic voice by
translating German poetry, works by Heinrich Heine and Günter
Eich, before ever beginning to write his own poems in Korean. Although
he is only a couple of years younger than his two friends, being born
in 1941, he did not begin to publish his own poetry until 1975, fifteen
years later than them. Owing virtually nothing to previous Korean
poetic models, consciously turning its back on them, his work enjoyed
immediate popularity as a model for a new poetics for the new age that
began in fact with the assassination of Park Chung-Hee and grew to
maturity during the dictatorships of the 1980s. For the first time, it
might be claimed, a poetic voice characterized by satirical humor was
able to speak out, pointing its dart at the evils of dictatorship and
the follies of everyday life in the modern city in subtle ways. With
him, we might say, the shift away from Ariel in favor of Prospero is
accomplished. But he shows us clearly that Prospero’s voice, too, is a
poetic voice, not lyrical, perhaps, but cogent and clear-headed.
It is significant that Kim Kwang-Kyu’s first volume of poetry has the
publication date October 20 1979 on its copyright page. Less than a
week later, on October 26, the life of the dictator Park Chung-hee was
brought to a sudden, violent end. As a result of that liberating event,
his book was more actively restricted and repressed by censorship in
the ensuing security clampdown than it might otherwise have been. But
at the same time, that only served to give it fuller credentials as a
work of major resistance, and in the years that followed some of his
earliest poems became great classics in the struggle against
dictatorship precisely because the dictatorship was too stupid to
realize what they were about.
What voice is speaking in Kim Kwang-Kyu’s work? Not always his own,
certainly, for even when the poem uses a first person singular ‘I’ we
cannot be certain that the speaker is Kim Kwang-Kyu himself. Many are
dramatic monologues set on the lips of the victims of modern society.
He too does not disdain Shin Kyŏng-Nim’s collective ‘We’ speaker. Kim
Kwang-Kyu is not much interested in celebrating directly the beauties
of nature, in part at least because he is too acutely aware of the way
human pollution has ruined the beauties of nature. He is one of the
very first Koreans to express alarm over looming ecological disaster.
Before hearing him read, let me quote one of his most significant, earliest poems, Spirit Mountain:
In my childhood village home there was a mysterious mountain. It was called Spirit Mountain. No one had ever climbed it.
By day, Spirit Mountain could not be seen.
With thick mist shrouding its lower half and clouds that covered what rose above, we could only guess dimly where it lay.
By night, too, Spirit Mountain could not be seen clearly.
In the moonlight and starlight of bright cloudless nights its dark form
might be glimpsed, yet it was impossible to tell its shape or its
One day recently, seized with a sudden longing to see Spirit
Mountain—it had never left my heart—I took an express bus back to my
Oddly enough, Spirit Mountain had utterly vanished and the unfamiliar
village folk I questioned swore that there was no such mountain there.
About this poem, the late Kim Young-Moo wrote:
We may read this as a poem about the birth of a clear mind awakening
from the falsehood of the world of ideals and dreams, all the yearning
and nostalgia that we tend to experience in connection with childhood
and home as well as anything essential and authentic. As we read this
poem, that develops so serenely with its “I” carefully controlling
feelings and betraying no emotions or thoughts, we are attentive to
reflect in turn whether we too do not somehow suffer from a similar
painful loss of a childhood home and its mysterious landscapes. At the
center of the poem stands the mysterious mountain that is somehow there
without being there, not visible yet glimpsed, not climbable yet
present, and we are invited to perceive in the poem both the nature of
the mountain and the mind which it continues to haunt. At one level
there is a process of discovery; the spirit mountain is not located in
space; it is no use taking a bus and going back to a place that is no
longer there, for the mystery of the mountain has to be sought at other
levels. The poem certainly does not report a simple loss of illusions;
it does invite us to re-examine our evaluations of past experience.
As I wrote in the Introduction to “The Depths of a Clam,” “the
first-person speaker in Kim Kwang-Kyu’s poems should not be too quickly
identified with the poet himself. There is so natural a feel to the
life stories and ‘confessions’ that many poems contain that the
confusion is easily made. The speaker of many poems is rather a modern
Everyman expressing in various ways the alienation and the bewilderment
caused by modern city life. The alienation is very often expressed
through an ironic contrast between the present and the past, between
nature and society, or between the rural and the urban.
“In many poems Kim Kwang-Kyu refers to childhood memories of another,
seemingly more human Korea in which, despite poverty, people were more
attentive to each other and to fundamental values. This enables many
Korean readers to sense his concerns very directly, for modernization
and urbanization are such recent phenomena that the majority of the
poet’s own generation were born in rural villages before moving to the
cities with their parents in the 1970s or ’80s. Yet as Kim Young-Moo
wrote, there is no sentimental nostalgia here, no deliberate attempt to
romanticize childhood memories; but certainly a major strategy in Kim
Kwang-Kyu’s work involves establishing contrasts that include notions
of a lost Paradise. To that extent it would be possible to see in his
world-view versions of an ongoing Fall.”
In his work, we can hear a voice characterized by “the spirit of
unflinching truthfulness, fidelity to our actual miserable state” that
Albright found on the Prospero side of his equation, the antithesis of
Ariel. Yet the voice of his best poems is often one that inspires a
sardonic smile, and it is also tempting to include him among Martin’s
“prophetic” voices, for Kim Kwang-Kyu never speaks to draw attention to
himself, but rather to raise questions about the way life is lived, or
not lived, in today’s world. In that, he is intensely altruistic. Kim
Kwang-Kyu is still almost unique among Korean poets. He writes about
topics that should make us want to weep in a voice that makes us smile.
Lyrical humor? A fourth voice of poetry, perhaps, emerging as Prospero
attempts to teach Ariel just what the challenges and rewards of life in
todays world consist of.
An Sonjae (Brother Anthony of Taizé)
Brother Anthony was born in 1942 in England. He studied at The Queen's
College, Oxford. In 1969, he joined the Community of Taizé in
France. He arrived in Korea in May 1980, and was naturalized in 1994
with the Korean name An Sonjae. Since 1980, he has been teaching
medieval and renaissance English literature in the Department of
English Language and Literature at Sogang University (Seoul). Brother
Anthony has published some 20 volumes of modern Korean literature in
English translation, including 6 volumes of works by Ko Un, 5 volumes
of poems by Ku Sang, 2 of poems by Kim Kwang-Kyu, and The Poet, a novel
by Yi Mun-yol.
Kim Kwang-kyu was born in Seoul in 1941. After graduating from the
German Department of Seoul National University, he studied in Germany.
He retired early in 2006 from his position as professor in the German
Language and Literature department at Hanyang University. He initiated
his literary career in 1975, after his return from Germany, with the
publication of "Shiron" (Ars Poetica) and other poems in the review
Munhakkwa Chisong. In the same year he published a volume of his
translations into Korean of poetry by Heinrich Heine and Gunter Eich.
This was followed in 1985 by a volume of translations of poetry by
Bertolt Brecht. His published volumes of poetry include Urirul
choksinun majimak kkum (1979), Anida kurohchi ant'a (1983), K'unaksanui
maum (1986), Chompaengich'orom (1988), Aniri (1990), Mulkil (1994),
Kajin kot hanado opchiman (1998) and Ch’ŏŭm mannatŏn ttae. (2003). A
selection from his first three volumes was translated into English and
published in England as Faint Shadows of Love (London: Forest Books) in
1991. A selection from all his published volumes was published in 2005
in the United States as The Depths of a Clam (White Pine Press.
THE DEPTHS OF A CLAM
Korean Poetry in Berkeley: Brother Anthony & Kim Kwang-Kyu
with Translator Brother Anthony of Taizé
and Poet Kim Kwang-Kyu
1. Presentation by Brother Anthony
"Voices Translated: Modern Korean Poetry from So Chong-ju to Kim Kwang-kyu"
2. Readings of Kim Kwang-Kyu’s poetry
Korean poems read by the Poet, English translations read by Zack Rogow
3. Comments and dialogue with Poet and Translators, including Chong Heyong who has translated Kim Kwang-Kyu’s work into German.
Kim Kwang-Kyu, born in 1941, is one of Korea’s most famous poets. He
has published 8 volumes of poetry. His delicate satires sustained
people during the dark years of dictatorship, while his ironic
commentaries on the dehumanizing effects of modern city life have
influenced many younger Korean writers. He recently retired from his
position as professor of German literature at Hanyang University, Seoul.
Brother Anthony, born 1942 in England, belongs to the Community of
Taizé (France). He has lived in Korea since 1980 and is
professor of medieval English at Sogang University, Seoul. He has
published some 20 volumes of translations of Korean poetry and fiction,
including “The Depths of a Clam: Poems by Kim Kwang-Kyu” (White Pine
Chong Heyong is Kim Kwang-Kyu’s German translator. She is professor in the German department of Hanyang University, Seoul.
Zack Rogow is a poet and translator. For many years he organized the
popular Lunch Poems Readings at UC Berkeley. He is now editor and
artistic director of Two Lines (The Center for the Art of Translation).