Un's poems take the ordinary world and peel the skin off, so that a gentle meditation on the passage of hours becomes something both beautiful and terrible as light shining through blood. --The Quarterly Conversation
About the Author
Born in 1933 in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province, Korea, Ko Un is Korea's foremost living writer. After immense suffering during the Korean War, he became a Buddhist monk. His first poems were published in 1958, his first collection in 1960. A few years later he returned to the world. After years of dark nihilism, he became a leading spokesman in the struggle for freedom and democracy during the 1970s and 1980s, when he was often arrested and imprisoned. He has published more than 150 volumes of poems, essays, and fiction, including the monumental seven-volume epic Mount Paekdu and the 30-volume Maninbo (Ten Thousand Lives) series. In recent years, more than thirty volumes of translations of his work have been published in some twenty languages. He has been invited to talk and give readings of his work at major poetry and literary festivals all over the world. Ko Un has been nominated for Nobel Prize in Literature several times, and is widely tipped to be the next Asian writer to win the award.