H A N Y O N G ' U N Born in Hongsong, South Ch'ungch'ong Province, in 1879, Han Yong'un is considered one of the great pioneers of modern Korean poetry. He joined the Buddhist orders in 1905--becoming known by his Buddhist name, Manhae--was editor of and contributor to the non-violent Buddhist newsletter Yusim, and assisted in writing the 1919 Declaration of Korean Independence. During the period of Japanese Occupation that began in the early twentieth century, he was active in the anti-Japanese guerrilla movement known as the Righteous Armies. From 1919 to 1922, while imprisoned for his participation in the Independence Movement, he wrote a series of poems in Chinese. Upon his release, he returned to Paektam Temple and in 1926 wrote in Korean the poems published as Nim ui ch'immuk (The silence of love), his only pub lished collection. Grounded in Buddhist spirituality, the poems have layers of meanings, some comparing the political suffering of Korea to the longing for the mystical beloved. Han died in 1944. Readers. I am ashamed to set myself up as a poet before you. I know as you read my poems you will be disappointed in me and for yourselves.
Manoa – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Aug 3, 2006
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