“Poems of the North” -a View Into the Lives & Culture of the North Korean People

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Exile Press' new release “Baek Seok: Poems of the North” opens an intriguing gateway into the soul of North Koreans before the war in the words of an artist still treasured in both Koreas today.

Poetry can reveal a great deal about the heart and spirit of a people. A new release from Exile Press “Baek Seok: Poems of the North” opens this intriguing gateway into the soul of the North Koreans of the 1930’s to 1950’s, in the words of an artist still treasured in both Koreas today.

Minneapolis MN, December 4th, 2018

Known as ‘The Great Untranslatable Poet’ for his use of intense North Korean dialect, Baek Seok is renowned for his work capturing the fading culture of the Korean people. Exile Press has produced a thoughtful rendition of his work in English that is likely to appeal to the growing number of people intrigued by Korean culture. Painstakingly translated by acclaimed poet and author Peter Liptak, this illustrated hardcover dual-language book (which retails for $28.95) introduces the Korean literary conscious of the period from the peak of Japanese occupation, through division and up to the Korean war.

“We feel privileged at the opportunity to bring Baek Seok’s work to a wider audience,” commented a spokesperson for Exile Press. “With all the interest in Korea today, ranging from a fascination with K-Pop, to the ever-shifting world of political relations with the DPRK, Baek Seok: Poems of the North, offers something for nearly everyone who has Korea on their mind.”

According to the publishing house, Baek Seok: Poems of the North is already garnering rave reviews from important professors of Korean literature. The book has received the Korean Government’s Literature Translation Institute Grant and is being considered for multiple poetry awards abroad despite having once been proscribed. Breaking through cultural barriers, it is expected to receive as warm a reception in the West, among those fascinated with Asian studies, poetry enthusiasts of all kinds, and the those curious of Baek Seok’s growing acclaim.

“The pervading existential pathos and loneliness in his Manchu Poems never ceases to appeal.” said Yu Jongho, President of National Academy of Arts (2014-2015). And of the new volume, “The unique temporal exoticism of Baek Seok’s poetry is exquisitely caught in this version… An unflinching outsider, the destitute poet at last came to find a reliable foreign fellow traveler.”

For anyone who hopes to understand Korea and its people – North & South, these palatal and pastoral poems of her countryside give voice to the soul of the people populating the peninsula in their portrayal of its long history, rich traditions, varied landscapes, spirited festivals and shaman superstitions in a way that is both poignant and timeless.

As Brother Anthony of Taizé observed, Baek Seok’s “Simple celebrations of traditional rural life, tastes, smells, sounds of the countryside dominate the poems of this romantic, solitary figure. Anyone curious to discover a Korean poet who maintained a deep love for older Korean life-experience need look no further.”

Available through Ingram and Baker & Taylor.

Press Contact: Eunju Lee at (612) 392-2805 or media@exilepress.com

For more information on orders visit https://exilepress.com/baek-seok or see related blog at https://koreanpoets.org

Release ID: 458957