Seoul Literary Society hosts poet Kim Kwang-kyu

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Oct 6, 2013 - 20:10
  • Updated : Oct 6, 2013 - 20:10
Swedish Ambassador to South Korea Lars Danielsson (third from left) and poet Kim Kwang-kyu (second from left) pose for a group photo with local literati and VIPs during a meet up of the Seoul Literary Society at the ambassador’s residence in Seongbuk-dong in Seoul on Tuesday. (Swedish Embassy)
In its latest literary meet up, the Swedish Embassy here hosted poet Kim Kwang-kyu at the ambassador’s residence in Seongbuk-dong in Seoul on Tuesday.

Poetry takes time and best reflects the era in which we live, and it does it with the utmost sensitivity, said Kim at the 32nd gathering of the Seoul Literary Society, a group of Korean literature enthusiasts organized by the Swedish Embassy in Korea.

Kim recited three of his poems: “One Leaf,” “Land of Mists” and “Small Men.” He is considered an influential modern Korean poet and one of its most read. Kim, himself, considers it a poet’s duty to observe everyday life plainly and describe it with care and sensitivity.

Kim was born in 1941, grew up in Seoul and studied German literature at Seoul National University and in Munich. He lived through his country’s tortured history: Japanese colonialism, the Korean War, national division, dictatorships and rebellions, democratization and globalism. It is reflected in his poetry.

Korean literature is a great treasure that remains relatively unknown by expatriates and the diplomats residing here, said Swedish Ambassador to South Korea Lars Danielsson.

SLS was set up in 2006 by then-Swedish Ambassador to Korea Lars Vargo, who was an accomplished poet and novelist in his own right.

On why SLS was established Danielsson said: There was a need for a mechanism to make Korean literature more readily available to the foreign community, because of the inability of many of us to read what is written firsthand, he said.

Through the years, SLS has hosted some of Korea’s highest-regarded wordsmiths. SLS hosted Kim Young-ha, author of “I Have the Right to Destroy Myself.” Another, poet Kim Seung-hee, author of the novel “The One Who Goes to Santa Fe,” shared her works with SLS members.

By Philip Iglauer (