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The Columbia Anthology of Modern Korean Poetry

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Table of Contents

Chu Yohan (1900-1980) Kim Sowol (1902-1934) Yi Sanghwa (1901-1943) Han Yong'un (1879-1944) Yi Yuksa (1904-1944) Im Hwa (1908-1953) Chong Chiyong (1902-?) Kim Yongnang (1903-1950) Yi Sang (1910-1937) No Ch'onmyong (1911-1957) Paek Sok (1912-?) Yun Tongju (1918-1945) So Chongju (1915-2000) Pak Mogwol (1916-1978) Cho Chihun (1920-1968) Pak Tujin (1916-1998) Kim Suyong (1921-1968) Pak Inhwan (1926-1956) Kim Ch'unsu (1922-) Ku Sang (1919-) Hong Yunsuk (1925-) Kim Namjo (1927-) Pak Chaesam (1933-1997) Shin Kyongnim (1936-) Ko Un (1933-) Hwang Tonggyu (1938-) Shin Tong'yop (1930-1969) Kim Chiha (1941-) Kang Un'gyo (1945-) Kim Yongjo (1943-) Kim Sunghui (1952-) Kim Hyesun (1955-) Hwang Jiwoo (1952-) Pak Nohae (1956-)

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The only up-to-date representative gathering of Korean poetry from the twentieth century in English, this volume presents 228 poems by 34 modern Korean poets, including renowned poets such as So Chongju and Kim Chiha.

Promotional Information

Poets and poems too long unknown outside Korea arrive here in vivid English thanks to the dedication of Professor David McCann and a galaxy of other translators. The anthologist's work, 'searching for arrows shot at random,' in a phrase rendered from a poem by Chong Chiyong (1902-?), a poet who 'disappeared into the North,' has yielded a quiverful of sharp cries of pain, outrage, despair... and human warmth and courage. The poems range from tender expressions of sadness and love of country to experiments in the esthetics of disgust. These are the modern voices of an abused and divided land, one with an ancient and varied poetic tradition, and they deserve to be heard. -- Edwin A. Cranston Edwin A. Cranston Edwin A. Cranston, professor of Japanese literature, Harvard University This is an anthology we have been waiting for, a welcome teaching source for instructors and a necessary reader for students of modern Korean poetry. -- Ann Choi, assistant professor of Asian languages and cultures, Rutgers University David McCann speaks of the powerful spell Kim Sowol's poem 'Azaleas' cast, and how it survives as a touchstone of the "resigned sadness of the Korean people." He notes that few Americans could spontaneously recite a comparable poem. In a nation cleft by war, these poets have transcended censorship and other oppression, violent turns of history, famine and other hardships, and wrested from these conditions a dazzling effusion of talent and truth-telling as 'poets of the South, poets of the North,/ run/ from death and deceit.' The poems range in tone and outlook from imagistic and meditative to today's rather surreal language poetry, an impressive variety despite the great body of shared traditions and aesthetics. These texts will stimulate interest in Korean literature and inspire recordings of the original poems. -- David Ray, poet and author of The Maharani's New Wall

About the Author

David McCann is Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Literature at Harvard University. His many books include Early Korean Literature: Selections and Introductions; War and Democracy: A Comparative Study of the Korean War and the Peloponnesian War; and translations of poetry by So Chongju, Kim Chiha, and other poets. He lives in Watertown, Masachusetts.


Readers are going to be surprised, I think, by the richness and intensity and range of The Columbia Anthology of Modern Korean Poetry Though many U.S. soldiers lost their lives in the Korean War, and though our fates are profoundly intertwined with that of the Korean people, most Americans have not really taken in the history of that beautiful and riven country: the decades of a brutal Japanese occupation in the first half of the century, during which many aspects of Korean culture were suppressed, the years of WW II, the extraordinary violence and devastation of the Korean Civil War as it turned into a Cold War battlefield, the post-war struggle of the people of the south against their dictators, the explosive economic growth, the isolation of and continued tension with the North. Throughout these years, people lived lives, wrote poems, whoe literary movements, avant-gardes, people's poetries, folk poetries, underground and oppositional poetries, Buddhist and Christian poetries, appeared and disappeared, and some remarkable poets made poems from their century's violent requiem. Perhaps no American scholar other than David McCann could have found a way to tell the whole story in the way that this book does. -- Robert Hass McCann's fascinating tour... illuminat[es] the course of Korean poetry and the struggle of their modernization as a people. -- Sun Yung Shin Rain Taxi This anthology fills the last major hole for readers of East Asian literatures. His introduction and informative briefs on each poet are excellent...Essential. -- T. Carolan Choice With in such a time frame, we are very grateful to have more than a "taste". -- Bonnie R. Crown World Literature Today

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