First Person Sorrowful

First Person Sorrowful

by Ko Un


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Ko Un has long been a living legend in Korea, both as a poet and as a person. Allen Ginsberg once wrote, 'Ko Un is a magnificent poet, combination of Buddhist cognoscente, passionate political libertarian, and naturalist historian.'

When a writer has published as much as Ko Un has in the course of more than fifty years of writing, it is hard to know where to begin, what to translate. For this book, his translators have selected a hundred or so poems from five collections published since the year 2002, acclaimed by Korean critics as bringing poetry to a hew level of cosmic reference. Nothing shows more clearly his stature as writer than the variety of themes and emotions found to his most recent work. Readers here have access for the first time to many of the poems Ko Un has produced in the 21st century, as he approaches his eightieth year, his energy and originality unabated.

As Michael McLure wrote years ago: 'Ko Un's poetry has the Old-fashionedness of a muddy rut on a country road after rain, it is also as state-of-the-art as a DNA micro-chip.' That remains true today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781852249533
Publisher: Bloodaxe Books
Publication date: 01/20/2013
Pages: 152
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword Andrew Motion 11

from Poetry Left Behind (2002)

A Recent Confession 17

Song of the Forest 18

After the Plaza 20

The Small Mountains of Asia 21

Memoirs 23

Autumn Song 25

That Path in the Forest 27

Time with Dead Poets 28

A Boy's Song 31

Places I Want to Go 32

My Next Life 33

Spring Days Are Passing 34

White Mountains 35

Poetry Left Behind 37

Armistice Line 39

Io Island 41

24 little songs 42

from Late Songs (2002)

Ruins 51

Song of White 52

I 53

A Blizzard 55

One Day 56

A Poem 57

First Person Sorrowful 58

To a Tree 60

It's 61

from Full of Shame (2006)

Has a Poem Come to You? 64

A Plastic Bag 66

Ear 67

Breath 68

An Egg-laying Story 69

North Korea 70

Pride 71

Snowfall 72

White Butterfly 73

My Will 74

The Monk Hyecho 75

October 19 76

Autumn Reply 77

A Certain Self-portrait 79

To You 80

To You Again 81

Chaktung (Fake) 82

Maitreya, Future Buddha, Today 83

No Title 84

A Letter Not Posted 85

Peace 3 88

Peace 7 89

Peace 8 90

from Empty Sky (2008)

One Thousand Years 92

Home 93

1 Write in the Empty Sky 94

In Lhasa, Tibet 95

Aged Twenty 98

A Tavern 99

I Will Not Write a Seven-Step Poem 100

Thoughts I Have Nowadays 101

A Task 103

Untitled 104

A Few Words 105

Moonlit Night 106

The Whisper 107

The Art of Clouds 108

To Lovers 109

Some Advice 110

from Where has my Frontier Gone? (2011)

A Song in Four Lines 112

Thanks 113

Someone Asked 114

Reminiscence 116

Years Later 117

Lamentation 118

Proclamation 119

In Metaphors Again 120

Taklamakan Desert 121

Sunset 122

A Blank Page 123

Of Late 124

Still You Must Be Born Again 125

How to Fly 128

At Eunpa Reservoir 130

Monologue 131

A Reply 132

Around Midnight 133

That Longing 134

When the Wind Blows 135

Looking at Clouds 137

The Sound of a Waterfall 138

Facing Death 139

Greeting Autumn 140

Where Has My Frontier Gone? 141

Request 143

Evening Road 144

from Fatherland Stars (1984)

Sunlight 146

from Songs for Tomorrow (1992)

Mother 148

from A Cenotaph (1997)

A Dance 150

Biographical notes 152

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