To celebrate the first anniversary of his death, a book of selected poems by the late Ku Sang (1919-2004) has been published by Seoul Selection in English translation. Translated by Brother Anthony of Taizé at Sogang University, the book contains a total of 99 poems arranged not in chronological order, but under five major themes: Mystery of Meeting, River, Fields, Sin and Grace, and Eternity Today. This book includes some rare black-and-white photos of Ku, including ones taken with fellow writers, with social dignitaries, and in his private library.
The most highly respected senior poet Ku pursued his own aesthetic sense based on Christianity while incorporating traditional Korean thought as well as Zen Buddhism and the Taoist philosophy of Lao Zi and Chuang Zi of ancient China. His work mostly searches for the meaning of human existence and the cosmos. Rather than focusing on poetic techniques, Ku used common expressions found in our daily lives that were nevertheless rich in meaning. He was remarkable for his laughing responses to life, even in its most serious moments. In the course of his life, Ku published a number of volumes of poetry, as well as essays on social, literary, and spiritual topics.
Translations of Ku Sang’s poetry began to be published when he was already over 70, and four volumes in English were published previously, as well as volumes in French, German, Italian, Dutch, and Japanese.