Korean American Books

Summaries and reviews of fiction and nonfiction books by Korean American authors,
books about Korean Americans and Korea, and Korean literature in English translation,
including some academic works and a sampling on the Korean War

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Among the Flowering Reeds: Classic Korean Poetry Written in Chinese, by Jong-gil Kim

This translation does fine justice to the subtlety of poetry, especially this genre that is suffused with nature as analogy, illusion and reference. The clean layout and organization of the poems is lovely, the choices themselves stunning, with obvious change of voice from poet to poet, who are listed with short biographies in the back. An excellent collection that is sometimes breathtaking, always lyrical, and steadily consistent in careful word choices.


Anonymous said...

Do you know whether there are new Classical Chinese poems out by Korean authors that are pretty popular?

Book Oblate said...

The ones I know of are Moonlit Pond (Copper Canyon Press); and Slow Chrysanthemums, again translated by Kim Jong-gi. The latter is fairly comprehensive, and his annotations are helpful. Another terrific buried resource is Younghill Kang's East Goes West, wherein he translates several works within the context of the story. Thanks for writing.

Book Oblate said...

Kim Jong-gil, correction.