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Ten Thousand Lives (Green Integer) [Paperback]

By Ko Un, Brother of Taize Anthony (Translator), Young-Moo Kim (Translator), Gary Gach (Translator) & Robert Haas (Introduction by)
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Item description for Ten Thousand Lives (Green Integer) by Ko Un, Brother of Taize Anthony, Young-Moo Kim, Gary Gach & Robert Haas...

Born in 1933 in a small rural village in Korea's North Cholla Province, Ko Un grew up in a Japanese-controlled land that was soon to experience the horrors of the Korean War. He became a Buddhist monk in 1952, and began writing in the late 1950s. Ten Thousand Lives is his major, ongoing work which began during his imprisonment with a determination to describe every person he had ever met. Maninbo, as it is known in Korea, is now in its 20th volume, and he has plans for five more volumes before its completion. The selection in this volume - from the first 10 volumes - represents one of the major classics of 20th century Korean literature, published for the first time in English.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   364
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 4.25" Height: 6"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Publisher   Green Integer
ISBN  1933382066  
ISBN13  9781933382067  

Availability  0 units.

More About Ko Un, Brother of Taize Anthony, Young-Moo Kim, Gary Gach & Robert Haas

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ko Un is author of "Beyond Self: 108 Korean Zen Poems and The Sound of My Waves: Selected Poems of Ko Un" as well as more than 100 volumes of poetry, short stories, fiction, criticism, essays, and children's literature, many of which have been best-sellers. His many awards include the Korean Literary Writers Award, Manhae Literary Award, and the Daesan Literary Award. Ko Un was Visiting Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard University. Clare You, Chair, Center for Korean Studies, University of California, Berkeley, has received the Korean National Silver Medal of Culture, and is author of two language textbooks including "College Korean". Richard Silberg, associate editor of "Poetry Flash, " is author of five books of poetry and the book of essays "Reading the Sphere". You and Silberg have also co-translated the poems of Oh Sae-Young.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > General
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > Single Authors
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > British > British > 20th Century

Reviews - What do customers think about Ten Thousand Lives (Green Integer)?

One long nitty-gritty planetary poem, amazing as such.  Jun 14, 2008
As Allen Ginsberg has remarked of this singular quasi-beat poetic mingling of cosmic perception and the ordinary life, Ko Un's Son poems are as "hard nuts to crack--yet many seem immediately nutty and empty at the same time." While in prison and thinking of the lives of all the people he knew, Ko Un decided he would write a poem about every person he had ever met. He would call this work Ten Thousand Lives: I agree with Robert Hass's suggestion that "This project itself, just the idea of it, should be enough to put him on the short list for the Nobel Prize."

By way of some context, Ko Un was born the son of a farmer in 1933 in Southwestern Korea, Cholla Province (a region that prides itself on its relentless antagonism to the party politics of Seoul). A precocious scholar from the start, he studied Chinese classics as a youth and learned to read and write Korean from a neighbor's servant (when Korean was prohibited as a public school language by colonial Japanese). In his late teens, marked by his experience during the Korean War, he became a Buddhist monk. After 10 years and after becoming an abbot at Haeinsa Temple, he quit the monastic life and returned to the worldly world, but with a deeply nihilistic attitude that culminated in a suicide attempt in 1970.

On the relationship between Son (zen meditation) and poetry, Ko Un has written: "Before I became a disciple...I was very knowledgeable about western philosophy, sutra study, and the teachings of the old Son Patriarchs. In fact, I was pedantic and loved showing off; seeing this, my master said, "Be patient in everything. Let go of everything and only meditate on "mu" (emptiness). Mu is your breath, your farts, and your father. Let go even of emptiness. Flee from words.' I began to fly, and from this freedom I met with language again. Like some crazed Wallace Stevens, his poetry does seem to come out the other side of ordinary language and habitual perception.

On the other side of being a zen monk., Ko Un also met with political activism and the will to resist government domination in Seoul. During the 1970s and 1980s, he became a leading spokesman for the artists and students opposed to military dictatorships and was among the people arrested when Chun doo Won took over and suppressed the Kwangju Democratic uprising. Since that time he has married, and published prolifically; his interests and reputation continue to mount and he has been translated into many languages. Indeed, he has written over 100 volumes in Korean poetry, several novels and short stories as well as essays.

His works in English translation include Beyond Self: 108 Korean Zen Poems (Parallax Press, 1997) and The Sound of My Waves (Cornell East Asia Series, 1993), both collections I commend to your attention. For the political and the natural orders often collide in his earthy poetry, come wryly together, mingling wit and compassion. As he wrote in a poem set in the DMZ from Ten Thousand Lives , called "Kin Shim Muk" ,"The road between Tongduchon and Uijonbu/ stretches glorious, not a yank in sight!"

Ko Un is still writing this one long poem and turning his own one life into an exemplary planetary life of action and meditation, poetry and compassion, deeply expressive of Korea and the global soul of the world.

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