The Korea Herald


Poet Ko Un to attend overseas literary festivals

By Korea Herald

Published : April 9, 2014 - 20:31

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Renowned South Korean poet Ko Un will visit London, Berlin and Chicago this year to attend various literary festivals, a local publisher said Wednesday.

According to Changbi Publishers, which has printed many of Ko’s poems, he will attend a “poetry night for Ko Un’s poems” hosted by the Victoria and Albert Museum, considered to be one of the world’s greatest museums of art and design, in London on May 30.

The London event will draw many influential writers working in London, Changbi said. 
Ko Un. ( The Korea Herald) Ko Un. ( The Korea Herald)

After the poetry night, Ko will read his poems during a poetry festival in Berlin from June 5-13, according to the publisher. In October, he will attend a poetry reading set to open in Chicago by an association of American poets and a similar event during The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, a large-scale international festival of literature in the British spa town of Cheltenham, it said.

“Ko has received a series of invitations from overseas cultural organizations since the news of his winning of the Golden Wreath award became known,” said the publisher.

In January, the organizing committee of the Struga Poetry Evenings, an international poetry festival that has been held annually for half a century in the Macedonian town of Struga, announced their choice of Ko as the winner of this year’s Golden Wreath award in recognition of his overall poetry work.

The Golden Wreath is one of the world’s most authoritative awards for poets. He will receive the award during this year’s festival set to open in August.

Former winners of this award, given by the Struga Poetry Evenings, include W. H. Auden (1971), Pablo Neruda (1972), Leopold Sedar Senghor (1975), Hans Magnus Enzensberger (1980), Allen Ginsberg (1986), Joseph Brodsky (1991), Seamus Heaney (2001) and Tomas Transtromer (2003).

Born in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province, in 1933, Ko is regarded as one of the most prolific living Korean writers. He has published well over 100 volumes of poetry, fiction, essays, translations and dramas.

He is best known for “Maninbo (Ten Thousand Lives),” a 30-volume epic poem series that began during his imprisonment under the 1970s military regime and was completed in 2010.

Some 10 anthologies of Ko’s poems, including “Maninbo” and “Songs for Tomorrow,” have been translated into English and published in the U.S. (Yonhap)