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#201, Asiatic Research Institute
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PARK Nohae
PARK Nohae
XXXIIe Seoul Colloquium in Korean Studies_Brother Anthony
Three Generations of Poetic Dissent: Kim Jiha, Park Nohae, Song Kyung-dong The “April Revolution” of 1960 inspired new forms of socially-aware poetry that gave a voice to the aspirations of the young generations for a renewed polity and truer forms of democracy. Leading poets in this first expression of dissent were Kim Su-yeong and Shin Dong-yeop. Both died tragically young, in 1968 and 1969, and in May 1970 the publication of the narrative poem “Five Bandits” by Kim Jiha marked a new level of social satire. Since one of the 5 Bandits was a General who had fought for the Japanese, the identification with Park Jung-hee was obvious, so Kim was arrested, then later, in 1974 he was even sentenced to death. After release from prison in 1980, his life took directions which have left most readers profoundly disoriented. While Kim Jiha was born in 1941 and experienced the April Revolution as a participating student, Park Nohae was only born in 1957. In 1984 his collection of poems evoking the agonies of overworked, exploited, overpaid factory workers, “Dawn of Labor,” made a powerful impact. His name, too, was a pseudonym. meaning “Workers’ Liberation.” His true identity was unknown, the police and intelligence agencies searched for him in vain. In 1989 he and other idealists established the “South Korean Socialist Workers’ Alliance,” an even greater provocation. Finally arrested in 1991, it was only when he appeared for trial that the face of “the faceless poet” was seen for the first time. Before being amnestied in 1998 he had published two more poetry collections, very different from the first. The story of his life since then stands in strong contrast to that of Kim Jiha. Born 10 years later than Park Nohae, in 1967, Song Kyung-dong is a construction worker and militant unionist who has authored three poetry collections. In 2014, he was sentenced to prison for mobilizing the “Hope Bus” movement, in which some 200 buses swarmed the site of an industrial protest in a show of solidarity. He has been part of the investigative committee examining the blacklisting of artists during the past two administrations. His poems and activities express the new reality of the radical social movement and the ongoing struggle for justice, which because of the outsourcing of production must expand far beyond Korea’s boundaries.                  Brother Anthony, Emeritus Professor at Sogang University, has translated many major contemporary poets’ work, publishing some 50 volumes so far. His current project involves translating the work of Park Nohae and Song Kyung-dong. He translated “Five Bandits” long ago.

 littérature   séoul colloquium in korean studies