8 Comments


  1. Dave,
    I love this tribute, but best of all, I love your comment about writers fertilizing the fields with their own excrement.


  2. I love this tribute too. And the old wrinkle of earth.


  3. Thanks! This book was the perfect match for my mood last night.


  4. *sigh* The vagaries of my WiFi connection…my comment vanished into the ether, so I’ll try again (since tonight’s connection seems stable).

    I’m glad to see Korean poets getting some coverage, although Ko Un is not (despite all the international press) my favorite Korean poet. I preferred your responses, actually; well done! The translations are better than usual, at least in terms of readability in English, enough so that I might give this volume a try at some point.

    Because Korean literature has been both infrequently and poorly translated, there’s not much on sijo in English, although Elizabeth St. Jaques (“Sijo in the Light” http://startag.tripod.com/SijoCont.html) has done a lot with the form (in English). Personally, I was impressed with “The Columbia Anthology of Traditional Korean Poetry” (ed. Peter H. Lee), which has sections on not only sijo but other traditional forms as well.

    I wish someone would translate a the sijo and other poems of the Joseon Dynasty gisaeng (a Korean geisha), Hwang Jin I. She is rightfully one of the most famous Korean sijo poets, and one of the Joseon Dynasty’s most colorful personalities.


    1. Thanks for commenting, especially given that it sounds like a bit of a hassle for you. Yes, when I read about Hwang Jin I in the Wikipedia, my immediate thought was, “Wow, Seon Joon should translate this!” :) She sounds a bit like Hồ Xuân Hương. I’ll see if I can get a copy of that Columbia anthology — thanks for the recommendation.


  5. I remember when you reviewed Ho Xuan Huong (sorry, no diacritics right now), and later, encountering several highly fictionalized versions of Hwang Jin I in popular Korean drama, drawing the same parallel as you did between the two women’s lives.

    I’ve wanted to try translating Korean poetry for awhile, but it’s dang difficult and I need to do a lot more reading before I could start work–lots of pacing the room, pages in hand, reciting out loud, and learning the reservoir of associations and common images poets in the Choseon era shared–but I may, at one point, take your advice and give her a try…

  6. Rosemary Starace

    This was a wonderful “review.” Both the excerpts and your responses made me want to write, and I did indeed take up the pen immediately upon finishing… Thanks.

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