Poetry. Asian & Asian American Studies. Bilingual Edition. Translated from the Korean by Sung-Il Lee and Insoo Lee. Edited by Stanley H. Barkan. This is a bilingual (Korean-English) selection of poems by the famed South Korean poet Chung Ji-yong, imprisoned by the North Koreans, translated by Sung-Il Lee and his father Insoo Lee, formatted in parallel texts, simultaneously published in America in paperback and hardcover editions.
A precursor of modern Korean poetry, Chung Ji-yong (1902 -1960) explored the potential of the Korean language as a medium of poetic utterances, and attained perfect fusion of the beauty of the sound of Korean and the thoughts that he wished his lines to contain. His poetry encompasses the whole gamut of poesy, ranging from sheer lyricism to puzzling word-play that demands intense celebration on the part of the reader. But the undercurrent of his poesy is his deep love of the musical quality inherent in the Korean tongue. Sometimes his lines have the ring of folk tunes, even of children's songs; sometimes they invite the readers to partake in the world of intensely imaginative poetic conceits. Sung-Il Lee taught English literature at Yonsei University, where he is now a professor emeritus. He has published a number of volumes of Korean poetry in his English translation: The Wind and the Waves: Four Modern Korean Poets (1989), The Moonlit Pond: Korean Classical Poems in Chinese (1998), which was announced as one of the "Outstanding Academic Books of 1998" by Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries in its issue of January, 1999, The Brush and the Sword: Kasa, Korean Classical Poems in Prose (2009), Blue Stallion: Poems of Yu Chi- whan (2011), The Crane in the Clouds: Shijo, Korean Classical Poems in the Vernacular (2013), and The Vertex: Poems of Yi Yook-sa (2014). He received The Republic of Korea Literary Award (1990) and The Korean Literature Translation Award (1999), both given by the Korean Culture and Arts Foundation.