Down in old Silla (just outside of Gyeongju) with my family and on the way up to Seokguram grotto I spotted a sign to a literary museum. It said “Dong-Ni Mok-Wol Literary Museum” and with some struggle I was able to communicate to our cabbie that I wanted to see it on the way back down. He clearly didn’t see the reason for this desire, but I eventually prevailed upon him. 😉
Still, we swung by it (actual address, Jinhyeon-dong, Gyeongju-si in Gyeongsangbuk-do) and it was cool. It pays tribute to the memories and the spirits of Kim, Dong-Ni and Park, Mok-Wol. Kim I already knew of, but Park was new to me. Since they were both born in Gyeongju, I guess, they got a museum. It was cool, one wing per man, and when I told the extremely friendly ajjumah that I taught at Dongguk, she just about went mad, rushing me from exhibit to exhibit, even taking pictures of me and the family. The museum was spacious, pretty, and had some cool exhibits, including electronic ones. The ‘Dong-Ni Mok-Wol Literary Museum’ is currently run by the Dong-Ni Mok-Wol College of Creative Writing.
I had read “Cry of the Magpies,” so I knew a little about Kim, but this place filled in the gaps with some stories that might be a bit over-colored. Or true, how would I know”
Kim, Dong-Ni was so poor as a child that he snaked booze from his father’s drinking glasses. He was the 3rd son of 5 children in Seonggeon-dong, Gyeongju-si in Gyeongbuk, and his name at birth was “Chang-Gwi”. He entered the Gyeseong Junior High School after graduating from the Gyenam Elementary School. A high-school dropout, his poem “A snowy heron” won the prize for the Spring Literary Contest of Chosun Ilbo in 1934, and he quickly became a serious writer. Laterr, he won the Spring Literary Contest of the Joong Ang Daily as well as that of Dong-A Ilbo and eventually became a professor at the Sorabol College of Arts.
Park, I don’t know so well, so I merely reproduce a fairly amusing clip from the “Worldyan,” which raises several questions including, ‘what is sedimentary poetry?’
The birth name of Master Park, Mok-Wol is “Yeong Jong”. He was born in 1915 at Moryang-ri, Seo-myeon in Gyeongju-si and was graduated from the Geoncheon Elementary School and the Gyeseong Junior High School in Daegu. In 1933, his children´s verses “Tong Dak Dak, Tong Zak Zak” and “Welcoming swallow” won prizes which enabled him to be introduced into the literary circles, where his life as a writer began to bloom.
In 1946, as he published a joint collection of poetry “Cheongrok-jip” together with poets Jo Ji Hoon and Park Du-Jin, the literary magnate Park, Mok-Wol began to get attentions from the literary world as a poet of so called Cheongnokpa. Afterwards, Park, Mok-Wol had his career as the core member of the Korea Writers Association, and a Lecturer of Seoul National University. He was also honored by winning the 3rd Asia Liberal Literature Award.
Park, Mok-Wol was mostly in pursuit of the sedimentary poetry exploring for the issue of historical reality and the matter of existence, as well as the nature of all things. Also as the writer of children’s verses and as a native local lyricist, he brought the serenity of heart into our people who were living in the period of barren emotions and was held in high esteem as the national poet.