The Rare Poetry Post (Featuring Ko Un & Brother Anthony of Taize)

I’m not much a translated poetry fan myself, partly because I’ve had to work on editing translated poetry and it is incredibly difficult to do right (if that is even the proper word?). But Brother Anthony of Taize is the man for the job, if the job can be done, and Ko Un (perhaps Korea’s current pre-eminent hope for a Nobel Literature Prize) is the poet to do it to. 😉

Also, judging by hits and inquiries at KTLIT, Ko Un is relatively popular in the English speaking readerati. Over at the Korea Times, there is an article on a complete translation of Ko’s poems. That makes it a relatively epic project, considering that “The Thousand Lives” alone is currently on its 20th volume and is some 300 pages long!

The times says:

The collection epitomizes his life-long dedication to modern Korean literature and gives a brief biography of his life along with explaining the periodical characteristics of his poems.

If you’re a fan of translated poetry, check it out!

4 thoughts on “The Rare Poetry Post (Featuring Ko Un & Brother Anthony of Taize)

  1. Hi, Charles!

    Did you get the pdf of the EAA photo spread? We sent you two emails, but no reply. Would you send us your preferred street address to receive your copy of the magazine? Also, are you still interested in the Asian Religions photospread?


  2. Brother Anthony of Taize has translated two books by Go Un but this volume is only a selection (albeit a very good one). From the net it looks like Brother Anthony has long been associated with Cornell university Press, who, amazingly, launched a whole series of Korean poetry in translation some time ago (“Five Thieves”, their volume of Kim Ji Ha’s poetry is also highly recommended by this reader)

    Brother Anthony’s translated selection of the “Ten Thousand Lives” from Green Integer Press is also incredibly good and I’d urge readers of this blog who are interested in translated poetry to dig in here.

    To update readers further the “Maninbo” (만인보, translation for “Ten Thousand Lives”, begun in 1985) has just this year been completed by Go Un, and now runs to 30 volumes of poetry! For readers living in Korea, I hear that there will be an exhibit at this year’s Gwangju Biannale (around Novemeber) featuring the completed work in some form or other (I also hope that prospective English readers/translators of the work have deep pockets, since the entire thing is on sale at Kyobo bookstore in Seoul for 315,000 won (around $350).

    I think that the estimate of 300 pages is a little on the low side since I’ve seen the complete thing in my local bookstore and I’d be surprised of it were under a thousand pages. Having said that, from Brother Anthony selection from 2005 I would highly recommend it, and, if it ever gets translated, DO expect it to be one of the few seminal works of Korean literature for the latter half of the twentieth century.

  3. Andrew,


    That’s why I rarely do poetry. I can’t even read reviews about it properly. 😉

  4. Pingback: Ko Un leading contender for Nobel Prize for Lit: AP | The Marmot's Hole

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