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Kim Chun-soo, giant of poetry, is dead at 82

Nov 29,2004
Kim Chun-soo, one of Korea’s most respected poets, died yesterday morning from complications following respiratory failure. He was 82.
Considered one of the country’s leading “purist” poets, Mr. Kim was renowned for experimentalism. He tried to find answers to the problems of identity, such as in his most famous work, “Flower,” which now appears in school textbooks.
“People like ‘Flower’ because they think it depicts a love story, but in fact, the poem is meant to say that an object comes to light when it is named and humans need bonding because they are destined to be lonely,” Mr. Kim said of the work.
Critics say Mr. Kim sought a transformation of poetry, resulting in his work going through stages.
“Mr. Kim repeatedly sought experiments and transformation and was a purist,” said Kim Jong-gil, one of Mr. Kim’s peers.
Mr. Kim was born in Tongyeong, South Gyeongsang province, on Nov. 11, 1922, to a wealthy family and went on to study literature at Nihon University in Japan. After Korea’s liberation in 1945, Mr. Kim returned home where he became a leading light in artistic circles, along with another poet, Yu Chi-hwan, and the composer Yun I-sang.
Beginning with his first poetry collection, issued in 1948, Mr. Kim published 25 books in all, and received numerous awards including the National Academy of Arts Award. He is survived by three sons and two daughters.
Mr. Kim’s funeral is scheduled be held tomorrow at Samsung Medical Center.


by Shin Bong-jun, Limb Jae-un


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