Conversations with Ko Un
Ramin Jahanbegloo
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
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Orient BlackSwan

Peace is a day when
everyone in the world eats bread together as friends.
Banishing starvation from the earth is peace.
—Ko Un, Song of Peace

In a world known for its conformism and complacency, questioning through the writing of poetry is a most courageous and dangerous act. Poets are brave spirits, fighting against tyrannies, wars and violence. Perhaps no one exemplifies this more than South Korean poet Ko Un. His poems, touching upon the themes of life, nature, mortality and echoes of tradition, are firmly rooted in Korean life, fulfilling the function of historical memory. In the past 30 years, he has been translated into 35 languages, and is the recipient of dozens of literary prizes and honours.
In Conversations with Ko Un, renowned philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo talks to the poet about his life, vision, aesthetics, travails and anxieties. Ko Un speaks about coming of age during the Korean War, his experience as a Buddhist monk, his imprisonment on several occasions, and poetry as an act of dissent. The result is an intense, illuminating, rich and insightful volume that emphasises the universality of the human experience.

Ramin Jahanbegloo, one of the world’s leading political philosophers and most widely read authors, is Professor and Vice-Dean, Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Peace, O. P. Jindal Global University, Sonepat, India.

Foreword by Ashok Vajpeyi
Introduction: The Dance of the Poet
by Ramin Jahanbegloo

Part I—Discovering Poetry at Gunsan
One: Childhood Memories
Two: Loving Parents
Three: A Japanese Education
Four: The Love of Poetry
Five: The Korean War
Six: In Search of Spirituality
Seven: Suicide and After
Eight: Meeting with Poets
Nine: Poetry and Politics

Part II—Elective Affinities

One: Ruins and Ashes
Two: Meeting with Destiny
Three: Poetry and Justice
Four: Poets and their Ideals
Five: A Sense of Realism
Six: The Art of the Novel
Seven: The House of Being
Eight: Poetry beyond Borders
Nine: The Immediacy of Presence

Part III—A Poet beyond Self

One: Disillusions
Two: The Avatar
Three: The Kamikaze
Four: Poetry and Historical Memory
Five: Poetry and the Self
Six: Poetry in Korea
Seven: Life is Prose, Death is Poetry
Eight: Peace is Oxygen and Water of Life

Part IV—
Dreaming of Poetry
One: Life is a Dream
Two: Poetry and Truth
Three: A Heavenly Art
Four: Listening to Poems
Five: Poetry-song
Six: The Challenges of Translation

Part V—
Death and Destiny
One: Poetry as Meditation
Two: Poetry Makes Poetry
Three: Poetry in the Age of Social Media
Four: A Poet of Tomorrow
Five: Poetry Readers Today
Six: The People within Me
Seven: Error is a Dream of Art
Eight: Wandering on Earth

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