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Poet Ko Un’s study to be displayed at Seoul Library

Posted November. 21, 2017 07:31,   

Updated November. 21, 2017 08:37


Poet Ko Un’s study room where he wrote his poem Maninbo for 25 years in Anseong, Gyeonggi province will be displayed at Seoul Library, former Seoul City Hall. The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced Tuesday that documents related to Maninbo will be exhibited under the name of “Manin’s Room” in Seoul Archival Services, on the third floor of Seoul Library. Maninbo is a poem sequence featuring characters that lived in various eras from ancient to modern times.

The exhibition features the 84-year-old poet’s handwriting that says “Manin’s Room,” as well as a chronological listing of his various works. “He is a living testament of Korean modern history as he has lived through the Japanese colonial era, Korean War and democratization movement,” said a staff member of the Seoul Metropolitan Government. “We can grasp essential events of modern Korean history from his chronology.”

The table and writing tools he used as well as the hand-written script of Maninbo are displayed. His personal belongings such as glasses, hats and clothes; and books he referred to write poems are also exhibited in the room. All the exhibits are donated by poet Ko Un. Visitors can see the entire procedure – from planning to writing Maninbo – in the exhibition. “He owns almost all books published in his era. That is how passionate he was in pursuing knowledge,” said the staff member of the Seoul Metropolitan Government.

The poet named the room by himself. “If I name it ‘Manin’s Room,’ instead of ‘Maninbo,’ both I and Maninbo are included in the room,” said Ko Un.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government has converted the 10,000-page-long script into a digital document for the convenience of citizens. An opening ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, in which Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon and poet Ko Un will participate.

Ji-Young Jeong jjy2011@donga.com