Korean Poetry: Ko Un (고은)
Ko Un (고은) is probably one of Korea's most famous poets. His name is often cited as a potential Nobel laureate. He grew up during the Japanese colonial period and was forced to learn Japanese as a first language, but managed to learn Korean from a neighbor. After the Korean War, he became a Buddhist priest for 10 years. These events have all had a great influence on his poetry which draws upon classical themes of Buddhism, but shows a clear trauma from the violence of the war as well as a very specific relation to the Korean language.
It is quite hard to appreciate Korean poetry in translation, and I myself am still far from being learned enough to understand all of the subtleties of the original text. Nevertheless I tried my hand at translating a few of these poems. Hope you'll like them. My translation is probably far from being good, as neither English nor Korean are my native languages. However a lot of Ko Un's poetry has been translated into English and maybe my poor attempt at translation will make you want to read these more professional works :)
These poems I have found here and there on Korean blogs, so I am unfortunately unable to provide references.
New like a debt paid today