Until Peonies Bloom
The Complete Poems of Kim Yeong-nang
Translated by Brother Anthony of Taizé
Bilingual Edition: English-Korean
2010, 187 pages
ISBN 978-1-937385-03-3 Paper $23.00
ISBN 978-1-937385-04-0 Cloth $45.00
Kim Yeong-nang (1903–1950) is highly reputed in Korea for the delicate lyricism of his poems. Yet in many ways he has remained little known, even in Korea, limited to a small number of often anthologized poems. Although he was a resolute opponent of Japanese colonial rule, he did not suffer frequent imprisonment, or death, so his role as a champion of Korean independence has largely been ignored. Killed in bombing near the start of the Korean War, he had no time to participate in the development of a new Korean poetry.
Many of Kim Yeong-nang’s earlier poems clearly express opposition to Japanese rule; after Liberation in 1945, he wrote to express his agony at the looming conflict between leftists and rightists that he saw threatening to tear Korea apart. At the same time, most of his poems are bold experiments in forms of Modernism; his use of images and symbols as well as his exploration of native Korean rhythms make him one of the most rewarding and challenging poets of his time. He spent most of his life in his native Gangjin, far removed from the literary world of Seoul, and the beauty of the Jeolla Province landscapes, as well as its dialect’s vocabulary, underlie his poetry.
Brother Antony of Taizé is Emeritus Professor of English Literature, Sogang University. He has published some 25 translations of works of Korean literature and is the recipient of all the major Korean translation prizes.
“Reading Kim’s Poems in Korean and English in this bilingual book is another joy for me. Young-nang Kim is one of the most beautiful and important Korean poets in the first half of the 20th century. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Korean literature and poetry.”
“This is a body of work that I, as an English-language poet, find interesting, and even inspiring, on multiple levels . . . the overall impression is one of lightness, even buoyancy. The eye fairly skims from poem to poem . . . The poems are memorable and have a way of remaining in the mind and on the tongue . . .”
—Kiki Petrosino (Kiki Petrosino’s first collection of poems,
Fort Red Border, was published in 2009)