Ko received the award at the end of an annual poetry festival in the southern Macedonian town of Struga on Sunday for his overall body of work, the commission said.
The 53rd edition of the Struga Poetry Evenings, an international poetry festival that has been held annually since 1962, was held on Aug. 21-24.
|This photo provided by the Korean National Commission for UNESCO on Monday shows South Korean poet Ko Un holding the Golden Wreath Award at the 53rd Struga Poetry Evenings, an annual international poetry festival held in the Macedonian town of Struga on Sunday. (Yonhap)|
Former winners of the award include W. H. Auden (1971), Pablo Neruda (1972), Leopold Sedar Senghor (1975), Hans Magnus Enzensberger (1980), Allen Ginsberg (1986), Joseph Brodsky (1991), Seamus Heaney (2001) and Tomas Transtromer (2003).
Born in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province, in 1933, Ko is regarded as one of the most prolific living Korean writers. He has published well over a hundred volumes of poetry, fiction, essays, translations and dramas.
He is best known for “Maninbo” (Ten Thousand Lives), a 30-volume epic poetry series that he began during his imprisonment during a military regime in the 1970s and completed in 2010.
Some 10 anthologies of Ko’s poems, including “Maninbo” and “Songs for Tomorrow,” have been translated into English and published in the U.S.
The commission said it would push for an event featuring a reading of Ko’s special poem carrying his aspiration for world peace during the 38th General Assembly of UNESCO set to open in the UNESCO headquarters in Paris next year in celebration of his winning the honor.
Ko is scheduled to return home Friday after attending poetry reading events to be held in Struga and Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, until Thursday. (Yonhap)