London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

LKL book database logo

Dawn of Labor

Translated by: ,
Publisher: , 2024
Original title: 노동의 새벽, 1984
Link to online store *

Dawn of Labor, at last translated into English, is the legendary South Korean poet Park Nohae’s first collection, published in 1984 when he was twenty-seven years old. Despite a government ban, the book sold a million copies and propelled Park Nohae as the generation’s leading resistance poet. Dawn of Labor is an enduring classic that shook a society, transformed lives, and demonstrated the power of poetry.

The war of night labor once over,
I pour cold soju over my aching heart.
Ah . . . I can’t go on like this for long.
For sure, I can’t go on like this.
—“Dawn of Labor”

If I ever kill myself, I’ll probably do it at dawn.
—“For a Peaceful Evening”

We too want to become heaven.
Not a dark clouded heaven
that presses down,
but a clear blue heaven
over a world that lifts one another.

Source: publisher’s website

Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.