An Evening with Ko Un

05th November 2012 19:00
Kings Place
90 York Way, N1 9AG
Poet in the City and Amnesty International UK were delighted to present an evening in the company of Korea’s greatest living poet and writer.

Ko Un is a poet, essayist, novelist, translator, and literary critic, with an immense literary achievement consisting of more than 130 published books. His poetry ranges from the short lyric to the vast epic sweep of the seven volumes of Paektu-san.

His fiction includes the Buddhist-inspired novel Hwaomkyong (The Avatamsaka Sutra) and Son (Zen), a fictionalized history of the early Son (Zen) masters of China and Korea. The on-going series Maninbo (Ten Thousand Lives) contains short poems evoking one by one all the people Ko Un has met in his life, as an expression of his deep desire to incarnate in his poetry a radical rewriting of modern Korean history.

Ko Un became a human rights activist opposing the harsh military regime of South Korea's president, President Park Chung-hee. His dissident activities led to repeated terms of detention, imprisonment and torture.

Former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion, who has written the introduction to Ko Un’s collection First Person Sorrowful, presents this fascinating evening in the company of Ko Un and his English translator Brother Anthony of Taizé.

It featured poems and extracts in Korean and English, a special celebration of a remarkable man. And following his appearances at the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival for The Poetry Trust, this event was his only London reading. It also marked the release of First Person Sorrowful, a selection of Ko Un’s poems in English – his first UK book – published by Bloodaxe Books.

The event was introduced by Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, and is presented in collaboration with The Poetry Trust, Aldeburgh Poetry Festival and Bloodaxe Books.

Julija Gulbinovic conducted interviews with Sir Andrew Motion and Ko Un (translated by Kyeong-Soo Kim).
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