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Title A Collection of Korean Poems Published in Iran
No Inquiry 163 Date 2017.11.13

Iranians love poems and poets. The worldwide recognition of Persian literature and its values is highly attributed to the famous ancient poems that have been loved for ages and Iranians' great interest in poetry. In Iran, even elementary school students learn and recite poetry in class. TV or Radio programs start with the recitation of a poem by the hosts, and poems are read wherever people gather. Iranians love to give a book of poetry to others as gift and particularly, almost all Iranians have collections of beautiful poems of Hafez at their homes. The graves of Iranian poets are visited by many people who willingly offer flowers to them. The hometowns of great poets are famous tourist destinations, and the people of the village where renowned poets were born have great pride in the poets.
 

<An article on Korean poets visiting Iran published in Tehran Times - Photo source: Tehran Times>

 
The recent visit of Korean poets to Iran and their exchange with local poets came to the fruition of A Dream under the Peach Blossoms, a collection of 24 Korean poets' works that was recently published in Iran in Persian. The publication was planned and carried out by Iran's Art Bureau. At the same time, in Korea, poems by 85 Iranian poets have been published into a collection under the title I Took a Look at the Sky Madly. The publication was led by the Literature Translation Institute of Korea. Iran 's leading English newspaper Tehran Times posted an article about the publication of these Iranian and Korean poetry collections in its culture section.
 
Among the 41 poems of 24 Korean poets included in A Dream under the Peach Blossoms are:  Kang Eun-gyo's 'I Love You' and 'As Flowing As Water'; Ko Un's 'In the Village of Munui' and 'The Stars of My Country'; Kim Gwang-gyu's 'The Death of a Little Crab' and 'A Vague Shadow of an Old Love'; Kim Myeong-su’s ‘Lunar Eclipse’ and ‘The End of Mourning’; Kim Myeong-in’s ‘Dongducheon 1’ and ‘Fog’; Kim Seon-u’s ‘If My Tongue Refuses to be Locked Inside My Mouth’; Kim So-wol's 'Wangsimni' and 'Cho-hon'; Kim Jeong-hwan’s ‘An Unerasable Song’ and ‘Railroad’; Kim Ji-ha’s ‘Empty Mountain’; Na Hui-deok's 'Disappearing Palm' and 'First Quarter Moon'; Ma Jong-deok's 'The Eye of Dew'; Mun Tae-jun's 'The Sole'; Park No-hae's 'Errand Girl's Dream' and 'Sewing a Comforter'; Shin Dal-ja's 'A Lantern' and 'A Song for Floral Tribute'; Shin Kyeong-nim’s ‘Mokgye Market’; O Gyu-won's 'Looking at the Winter Forest' and 'An Armchair and Poetry'; Lee Seong-bok's 'Geumsan, Namhae'; Lee Si-yeong's 'Prologue', Jang Seok-nam's 'Nostalgic Streams' and 'An Old Garden'; Jeong Hyeon-jong's 'A Painful Festival 2' and 'A Song for Thunders'; Jeong Hui-seong's 'Washing a Shovel in the River Under the Sunset Sky'; Choi Seung-ho's 'A Heavy-Snowfall Watch' and 'Television'; Hwang Dong-gyu's  'Snow in Samnam' and 'Aerial Sepulture'; and Hwang Ji-u's 'Road' and 'Birds Are Leaving the world'.
 

<The collections of Korean poems published in Persian and Iranian poems in Korean. - Photo courtesy of the correspondent>

 
I Took a Look at the Sky Madly compiles a total of 93 poems of 84 Iranian poets including the renowned poet Ali Esfandiari. The translation and publication of the poems were conducted by the Literature Translation Institute of Korea. The poet Ko Un said in the forward of the collection, "There is a beautiful world that resembles regret that we can meet only after the end of all, and this world enriches us. Persia is the origin of the Eurasian continent, and we are trapped in a valley of the modern world where we remain blind to this obvious fact. I have read all the poems in this book. I have read them twice; but now I am mentioning only a few deceased poets and one or two surviving poets, and I hope that one day I will be able to take a deeper look at the highly-elated world of Iranian poets in the 1970s and 1980s. I would like to express my warmest congratulations on the introduction of these meaningful Iranian poems in Korean." The subtleness of Iranian expressions and the inspirations of the original versions that readers would feel if they read them in Persian might have been lost in the process of translating their English versions into Korean again. However, these translated versions of Iranian poems are already beautiful and touching enough.
 
Shin Kyon-shik, who translated the Iranian poems into Korean said, "I have observed various aspects of many languages, but I am especially steeped in the roots of languages ​​and the relationships of different languages. What is particularly interesting is that Persian has historically been a cultural language throughout South Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East, and thus has influenced many languages providing them a large number of loanwords and sharing many links with them. Also, as there are traces of many languages including Turkish and Arabic ​​in Persian, the translation of these Iranian poems was like a trip to West Asia to me."
 
Recently, the poets Kim Seon-u and Mun Tae-jun visited Iran to celebrate the publication of these two collections of poems. The poets of both countries held a meeting for literary exchanges and presented each other with collections of poems published in Korean and Persian. The Korean poets also visited Shiraz, the birthplace of Iran's famous poet Hafez, and built friendships with local poets and publishers. It is expected that the recognition of Korean literature will greatly increase in Iran in the future as poems of both countries are published simultaneously in Korea and Iran and the poets of both countries continue to exchange. Some of the poets who had visited Iran and met with local poets include Kim Hu-ran, Shin Dal-ja, and Jang Seok-nam. This year, Mun Tae-jun and Kim Seon-u visited Iran. It is expected that their visit will serve as an opportunity to promote Korean poetry among Iranians who love poems.

 

* Kim Nam-yeon, Correspondent in Iran