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Korean-French collaboration brings modern Korean poetry to France

March 30, 2024 - 16:02 By Hwang Dong-hee
"Anthology of Contemporary Korean Poets" (Society of Korean Poets)

A collection of 100 representative works of modern Korean poetry has been translated and published in France through a collaboration between the Society of Korean Poets and the Society of French Poets (La Societe des Poetes Francais, SPF).

Titled "Anthology of Contemporary Korean Poets" ("Anthologie des Poetes Coreens Contemporains" in French) the book includes works by 100 modern Korean poets such as Han Yong-un, Jeong Ji-yong, Baek Seok and Yun Dong-ju with translations by Kim Hyun-ja.

The first poem in the anthology is "I Do Not Know" ("Je ne peux pas savoir") by Han, also known by his pen name Manhae.

The publication of the anthology follows an MOU signed at last year's World Poetry Day on March 21 at the Korean Cultural Center in Paris.

Subsequently, the two societies introduced some 60 poems from each country over the course of a year through their periodical publications.

The Society of Korean Poets said the initial print run is about 2,300 copies. Some 1,000 copies will be distributed to SPF members, societies of French-speaking poets and some school libraries in France.

Additionally, 500 copies will be distributed to eight university libraries in Paris with departments related to Korea. They will also be distributed to 25 high schools in France where Korean language is available as a foreign language subject.

The book, however, cannot be sold in bookstores as the SPF is a nonprofit organization, according to the Society of Korean Poets. A publisher in Paris is currently considering re-publishing the anthology as a dual-language (Korean-French) edition.

The Society of Korean Poets was founded in 1957 and has been led by poets such as Yu Chi-hwan, Cho Chi-hun, Park Mok-wol and Kim Chun-su.