Baek Seok: Poems of the North (Hardcover)

Baek Seok: Poems of the North (Hardcover)

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Author: Baek Seok

Translator: Peter Liptak

Publisher: Exile Press (2019)

Treasured in both Koreas, Baek Seok: Poems of the North opens an intriguing gateway into the spirit of the North Koreans of the 1930s-50s. In a land struggling for freedom and short of food, he treats his readers to the dishes they craved, exhibiting a Korea not in mired in the unpleasant realities of oppressive Japanese occupation, but in his imagination of its greatness.

Influenced by the visually intense landscape objects and narratives of the countryside, this poet observed for us the institutions and character of fading local customs, infusing them with the foods and flavors native to Korea, a deep and spiritual connection to the natural world, and shamanic superstition while tapping into the memories and 'han' of the people. 

With a tone that is variously meditative, joyous, nostalgic, critical, romantic, reverent, ironic, tragic and even bitter, Baek Seok's blend of litany, landscape and legend is full of nature's color, palatal flavors and a tactile connection to those who people his poems.