This is the first English translation of selected poems by one of the most important and unusual modern poets of South Korea. In contrast to the strident political protests found in the poetry of many of his contemporaries, Pak Chaesam’s work is characterized by intimate portraits of place, nature, childhood, and human relationships, and by indirection, nostalgia, and reflectiveness.
Often focused upon the border of this world and some other, Pak writes with a spareness of presentation but a cornucopia of imagery, meticulously exploring objective and subjective realms of existence and memory. Encouraging the reader to see and listen, and to allow the sensory to reshape the analytical, Pak’s poetry opens up new realms of experience. A fellow Korean poet described Pak’s poetry as being “the most exquisite expression of the Korean sense of han,” or melancholy.